Yes, our regional healthcare providers—Essentia Health, Lakewood Health System, and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center—have reviewed the Lake Country Cares campaign. Each organization supports the Lake Country Cares effort to promote safety for all by taking precautions to breathe safely, walk safely, and touch safely.

Lake Country Cares follows the safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Wearing face masks, using barriers, and practicing social distancing aren’t what we’re used to, but those who shield their breath, stay six feet away from others, and wash their hands, will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. One of the goals of Lake Country Cares is to help these safety recommendations feel normal, so we practice them more often. By wearing face masks, using barriers, social distancing, and sanitizing hands, we are making a promise to take care of each other and be safe together.

Businesses created their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans based on state guidelines, and followed a state template and checklist. Many businesses also consulted with their industry associations to follow best practices for keeping customers safe. All businesses may voluntarily submit their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans for review by the Crow Wing County Department of Health at no cost.

Lake Country Cares wants to help make CDC and MDH safety recommendations—wearing masks (or using barriers such as plexiglass or face shields), social distancing, and washing hands—become a normal practice in our communities.

No, Lake Country Cares is a public safety campaign designed to unify people around COVID-19 safety practices and to build trust among residents, visitors, customers, and local businesses.

As there are no travel restrictions within the state, our region expects our regular summer visitors to return. Lake Country Cares is meant to protect the health and safety of all people in Crow Wing County—residents and visitors. Following the safety guidelines put in place by our regional businesses and taking a few precautions as individuals will help reduce the spread of COVID-19—we’re safer together.

We encourage businesses to purchase PPE-like face masks, shields, and sanitizer locally, however, the Crow Wing County Department of Health can assist in sourcing them if needed and businesses would cover the costs. The CDC also provides instructions on how to make face masks at low cost.

Lake Country Cares posters and safety plans displayed at local businesses are helpful reminders of things we can do to keep each other safe. When we are all encouraged to wear face masks and use barriers, wash hands, and continue social distancing practices, it shows how we can all be safer together. While it’s not the “new normal” we might have chosen, normalizing these practices will help us be safer together.

Participating in Lake Country Cares is not required. While many businesses have chosen to be a part of this collaborative effort to help keep our residents, visitors, and communities safe, there is no requirement to do so. By displaying the Lake Country Cares poster and following the safety guidelines, we hope individuals will follow the lead of our business communities through these simple steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and all be safer together.

Led by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Reopen Brainerd Lakes is a separate effort supporting the reopening of Minnesota businesses with public health and safety accommodations. The chamber took this position due to the high number of local business closures as compared to other areas of the state.

Lake Country Cares is a public safety campaign developed by regional businesses, healthcare organizations, and chambers of commerce, in collaboration with the Crow Wing County Department of Health. While the chamber is a key partner of Lake Country Cares, it is a public safety campaign only. Other partners are not advocating for a timeline to reopen businesses.

No. Lake Country Cares is a partnership between regional businesses, healthcare organizations, chambers of commerce, and the Crow Wing County Department of Health that shares the common goal of getting customers back into our businesses while making them as safe as possible. Lake Country Cares seeks to normalize mask wearing and barrier use, social distancing, and hand washing not because of a government mandate, but to protect the health and safety of all of Crow Wing County—residents, visitors, customers, and businesses.

Lake Country Cares is endorsed by these regional partners.

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