Hennepin County News and COVID-19 Update - May 23

commissioner marion greene

May 23, 2020


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This Memorial Day it is my hope that we honor those who have died in service to our country by finding ways, big or small, to ensure that we are using the freedom they fought for to protect and care for our communities and each other during these trying times.

Please reach out to my office for any reason. 

Be well,

marion signature

Governor Walz Announces "Stay Safe MN" Initiative



Stay Safe MN

Governor Walz has "moved the dial" and introduced more interaction between people over time. As the state takes cautious steps forward, it is more important than ever that residents protect those most at risk, support workers, and all do our part to slow the spread of the virus. The Walz administration also continues to encourage Minnesotans to:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Get tested when sick
  • Maintain social distance
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay home when able

Beginning May 18, non-critical businesses, like retail stores and main street businesses, can reopen if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent capacity. Additionally, the Walz-Flanagan Administration is assembling guidance on how to safely reopen bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1. Watch for more updates from the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development about what this means for business.

Also, starting May 18, Minnesotans are welcome to gather with friends and family in groups of 10 or less with safe social distancing practices in place. 

Read more here. 

Stay Safe

As we continue the process of reopening our economy and returning to work and activities we enjoy, we must continue social distancing practices to save lives and stay safe.

Small actions can help keep us healthy. Check out this video on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while you shop.


For details on Minnesota's phased-in approach to reopening various business and social settings, go to mn.gov.

Minneapolis Mayor Frey Issues Policy Requiring Face Coverings for Indoor Public Locations


Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed Emergency Regulation 2020-12, which will require people in Minneapolis to wear cloth face masks or coverings when they are in an indoor place of public accommodation, including grocery stores, recreation centers, hotels, retail businesses, the skyway system, and government buildings. Frey signed the new policy into law this morning. The emergency regulation will take effect on Tuesday, May 26. Read more here. 


May 25: Donate Homemade Masks

Residents can deliver homemade masks to their local fire station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. The City plans to distribute the donated masks throughout Minneapolis to residents, organizations and businesses that are most in need, including food shelves, congregate living facilities, small corner stores and shelters. Find donation locations here. 


Hennepin County Grants for Self-Employed Residents


Residents who are self-employed with no employees may be eligible for a grant up to $3,000 to help cover business interruption costs due to COVID-19. Apply by Friday, May 29 at noon. Learn more here. 

Resident and Real Estate Services - Still Serving You!

Since March 23 county service representatives have handled the following transactions:

  • 16,202 Certified birth/death/marriage records
  • 163 DNR Boat/Snowmobile registrations
  • 4 Fish and Game
  • 538 Marriage License Applications
  • 2,400 Misc (notary filing, officiant filing, etc)
  • 2,054 Motor Vehicle transactions
  • 149 Property Tax Payments
  • 11,000 phone calls to 8240

Hennepin County services continues to evolve to meet the needs of residents in innovative ways. Thanks to our county staff for adapting to the moment and providing assistance with as little disruption as possible. 

Request Your Absentee Ballot


All eligible voters in Minnesota can choose to vote by mail via absentee ballot. 

To complete the application for an absentee ballot online you must:

  • Be eligible to register and vote in Minnesota
  • Provide an email address
  • Provide your identification number: MN-issued driver's license, Minnesota ID card or last 4 digits of Social Security Number

Complete your absentee ballot request here.

Metro Transit Requiring Face Coverings For All Riders



Face coverings are now required on board all Metro Transit buses and trains. Thank you in advance for taking this additional step to help protect those around you.

Questions that are not addressed below may be directed to Customer Relations. Find the latest information about Metro Transit’s response to COVID-19 here.

Hennepin County COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

The board approved a Hennepin County COVID-19 preparedness plan to keep people safe as the county brings more staff back to physical locations to serve residents.

The plan requires employees to do self-screening at home before coming to work and requires worksite training for all employees. The plan also requires all employees and visitors to wear face coverings in all county facilities. The face coverings must cover both mouth and nose, as well as be secured to the head with ties or ear loops. The county will provide face coverings to employees and visitors who do not have them.

The face covering requirement takes effect Thursday, May 21. Other plan elements will be in place beginning the week of May 25. The county’s plan will be reviewed regularly and updated as needed.

The county continues to take a phased approach to bringing back in-person services at county facilities. Many services continue to be offered online and by phone, mail, drop-off, and fax.

Read more here.


Federal CARES Act Allotment

The board approved a $2.5 million federal CARES Act allotment for emergency relief and recovery. The allotment supports private non-profits and community organizations impacted by COVID-19 that serve county-involved individuals, families, and youth.

Funding will support facility adaptations, technology, supplies, and personal protective equipment that the providers need to safely carry out services during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, the funding will support the county’s disparity reduction work and those entities that deliver services to disadvantaged individuals and communities.


New Hennepin County Library Director Appointed

The board appointed Chad Helton to serve as director of the Hennepin County Library, effective August 24, 2020. This appointment follows an extensive national recruitment effort and recommendations by the county administrator and Library Board. 

Helton brings extensive experience to Hennepin County. In his most recent position, as director of branch libraries for the City of Los Angeles, Helton has demonstrated his ability to provide executive-level leadership and direction by managing 72 branch libraries while building partnerships with staff and community stakeholders.  

Helton is experienced in project management, policy creation and implementation, budget management, library operations, collection management through analytics, copyright compliance, reference, e-resources, collaboration and leadership. 


Housing and Community Development Plans

The board approved the Hennepin County five-year plan and 2020 action plan for housing and community development. These plans will guide the use of approximately $30 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in suburban Hennepin County cities over the next five years. More than 2,000 Hennepin County residents offered input into the plans through in-person and online engagement activities.

Learn more about housing plans and accomplishments


AFSCME Local 34 Donates 3,400 Face Masks


A huge shout out to AFSCME Local 34 members who donated 3,400 KN95 masks and 500 personal-sized hand sanitizers at the Adult Corrections Facility on Monday, May 18.

While many AFSCME members are working remotely, many are reporting to correctional facilities, group homes, clinics, hospitals, treatment facilities and more. "By donating these masks to Hennepin County Incident Command, we are getting them into the rotation to all staff in vital direct care roles across Hennepin County," the local said.

Thank you to the union for protecting workers' health, safety and well-being.

Up-to-Date Resources

Community resources


New Text Service Helps Survivors Stay Safe at Home

Individuals experiencing intimate partner violence and those who fear for their safety at home can now contact Standpoint – which provides services to domestic and sexual violence survivors – by text at 612-743-7397. The text-only service is available Monday through Friday during business hours to reach a domestic or sexual violence/abuse advocate. Standpoint advocates are also available to speak by phone at 800-313-2666 or via email at info@standpointmn.org.

Outside normal business hours, folks should call Minnesota’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 866-223-1111. Always call 911 in case of emergency.


Hennepin County Resources

Hennepin County is continually finding ways to continue providing residents with services during this time.

Find the most up-to-date information about how to access these services.


Use the Hennepin County local resource site to find updated information on food shelves and meals, financial assistance, mental health services, domestic violence services, and resources for housing and utilities. 


Call 612-348-5553 to speak with Healthcare for the Homeless staff about accessing quarantine and isolation space. Find additional resources for those experiencing housing instability. 


If you receive SNAP benefits but can’t leave your home to get groceries, you may now designate someone to use your EBT card on your behalf.


While offices are closed to the public, the state continues to take applications for Emergency Assistance (EA) and Emergency General Assistance (EGA), and other assistance.

Learn about free and low-cost internet options to support distance learning.


Review a list compiled by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office on scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Visit the Hennepin County Library Curbside Pickup FAQ for details on how to safely access physical materials from the collection.

The Domestic Abuse Service Center is currently operating remotely. All services can be accessed by calling (612) 348-5073.


Minneapolis Resources

The City of Minneapolis opened up space for walking, rolling and biking to support active recreation and safe access to essential businesses with Stay Healthy Streets. 


Minneapolis Public Schools is offering weekly food pick up at nearly 50 food distribution sites across the city of Minneapolis. Food is free and available to any child 18 years or younger. 


Saint Louis Park Resources

Saint Louis Park public schools are offering free meals for school-aged children. Questions? Call the School Nutrition Department at 952-928-6146.


State Resources

Find State COVID-19 testing locations near you.


Every Minnesotan can call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or complete and submit this online form. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m

State of Minnesota Dedicated COVID-19 Hotlines: 

  • Community (schools, child care, business) questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)
  • Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7:00 am – 7:00 pm)


If you need assistance covering your energy bills, the state’s Energy Assistance Program may be able to help.


Resources for Essential Workers

Metro Mobility is now providing free door-to-door service from home to work and work to home for any person who works at a healthcare facility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Free Nice Ride memberships available for healthcare workers.


Healthcare Worker Childcare through U of MN Medical Student Group


MetroMobility offering grocery delivery to certified riders


Additional Community Resources

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid has created a webpage with updates on court cases and advice for people with questions about housing, safety, health, unemployment benefits, etc. during this time. 


In this video, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams shares ways to create your own non-medical grade mask.


'Free Meals for Kids' Mobile App


Homes for All COVID-19 Housing and Homelessness Resources


Twin Cities Restaurant Curbside Order Pick Ups Options


Arts at Home

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


Follow us

facebooktwitterinstagramyoutubelinked in
Hennepin County