The City of Rice Lake has declared a public health emergency, echoing warnings from higher levels of government on the Coronavirus pandemic.
City Hall is closed, except for early absentee voting for the Spring Election.
“We are recommending everyone get an absentee ballot mailed,” said Katherine Elchert, who has been appointed as the City’s information officer during the emergency declaration.
Citizens can sign up at myvote.wi.gov.
The City’s primary services will continue. But the Library, Senior Center, Housing Authority office and Community Services offices are closed to the public.
The Community Services Department is open and fully staffed. While the CSD front office is closed, members of the public can use a phone installed inside the vestibule to contact staff (for grave sales, excavation permits, etc). Call CSD for additional questions: 715-234-7402.
Instead of a full City Council, an emergency council has been organized, consisting of Mayor Michael Diercks, City Council President Dan Schwab, City Administrator Curt Snyder and other department heads. The council can meet without public notice under the emergency declaration. The reports of each meeting with be published on the city website within 3 days of each meeting.
“This will help the city run as smoothly as possible during this public health emergency,” said Elchert.
The public can call or email city departments with inquiries. Some city staff has been directed to work from home if possible.
The emergency declaration will be in place 60 days, and could be extended.
Grab and go meals are available at the Rice Lake Senior Center. Citizens must call ahead to get one at 715-537-6225. A $4 donation is suggested.
Rice Lake Public Library
Though the library is closed, Elchert welcomed the public to explore the library’s online collections.
“We understand that the closure of the library is inconvenient, but the safety of the public comes first,” said Elchert. “We have so many online resources, feel free to access e-books, e-audiobooks, online magazines, databases, homework help and more.”
Those without library cards can sign up for one at more.lib.wi.us/selfreg.
There is also a special tab for Covid-19 resources at rlpl.org.
Libraries’ physical materials are not available, and those check out are not due back until libraries re-open to the public. Drop boxes are closed.
Patrons can still place holds on physical materials, but they will not be delivered until libraries re-open.
Rice Lake Public Library is offering live story times at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays on it’s Facebook page or at rlpl.org.