COVID-19 updates from our office - and pet pictures



(651) 266-8640  |

Hamline-Midway  |  Union Park |  Saint Anthony Park

Macalester Groveland | Como




Dear community,


I’m writing to offer the full support of our council office during this very challenging time, and to share updates on what we are doing to keep everybody safe and healthy through COVID-19.


As of this week, the Ward 4 team has begun work completely remotely, and I am personally only going to City Hall for votes while moving other meetings and business online. As we adjust to the strange new normal, I am daily reminded of the following things.


Not everybody can stay home. Not everyone can work remote. Not everybody has a car. Not everyone can do critical errands like grocery-shop or get medication from the pharmacy. The list, as you know, goes on. As a team, we are working to best use the institution of government and our additional privileges to advance the public good and take care of all our people. I welcome your ideas toward that effort as we work to fulfill our responsibilities as a city. Keep in touch with us and we will do the same.


Please continue to #StayHomeMN however possible, wash your hands, stay six feet apart, practice social distancing, and see resources and updates below.




P.S. Read to the very end for extremely good pet pictures.



Here’s what that means for St. Paul: 

  • Through March 27, all city libraries, parks and rec centers — including the Como Zoo and Conservatory — will close to the public
  • St. Paul Public Library has already begun some online programming (storytime livestream, etc.) for kids and families at home - stay updated here
  • While you sadly can’t visit in person, St. Paul Public Library archives can be accessed online with a library card at
  • Per the CDC, the city will not issue new permits that involve gatherings of 50 or more people
  • Our firefighters and police officers exposed to COVID on-duty can receive worker’s comp
  • Mayor Carter has requested Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher suspend all evictions in the City of Saint Paul (and I strongly support a measure at the state introduced by Rep. Mike Howard to suspend evictions statewide during the pandemic)
  • More information about the City of Saint Paul’s response to COVID-19 can be found at

The City Council held an emergency meeting Tuesday, March 17 and voted to approve extending this local state of emergency for 90 days - resolution here.




  • Water: Mayor Carter announced March 12 that water shut-offs in St. Paul will be suspended for 30 days
  • The St. Paul Water Board will discuss extending that at their April 14 meeting, and I will forcefully advocate for water and all utilities to stay on throughout the pandemic
  • Gas and electricity: Xcel Energy will not disconnect services to any residents until further notice - more here
  • Internet: This outbreak is illuminating the vital necessity of internet access and its value as a public good. We’ll share what we know from area providers; please know if any public options develop in the future that we will share that ASAP too.
    • Comcast hotspots are free for anyone, even if you do not have Comcast Xfinity Internet. When in a hotpot all you need to do is “xfinitywifi” in networks and open a browser. To find a map of Xfinity hotspots, click here.
    • For low-income families, Comcast is offering free home internet for the first 60 days. Comcast is also canceling shut-offs and will remove late fees. They are asking that their customers contact them before the bill is late so that they can work with you.
    • CenturyLink is canceling shut-offs and will remove late fees for the next 60 days. They ask that you contact them before your bill is late so that they can work with you.



  • Starting on Wednesday, March 18, school bus routes will be utilized as meal pick-up locations. 
  • Parents are asked to accompany children, and each child will be provided a 1-week supply of meals. 
  • Bus stops will be scheduled each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Additional meals will be available for curbside pick up at designated schools. 
  • Please visit for a complete list of meal times and locations. 
  • who lack transportation or those with medically fragile children can request to have food delivered to their residence. 

Registration for home delivery is open at



With schools closed, SPPS is coordinating technology pick-up for families this week with forthcoming information about distance learning and continued instruction online - stay tuned here



This week, Governor Tim Walz has ordered bars, restaurants, and other businesses to be closed to public gatherings. While I understand this necessary step, the economic impacts for workers and business owners are tremendous, and will require a serious government response in addition to community support in the coming days and weeks. As efforts toward that end continue, please consider ordering takeout or delivery from our neighborhood businesses if you are able to keep some income coming for them, and tip delivery workers above and beyond for braving the elements. Gift cards and other online purchasing matters too. If you have income to spare, consider helping out in this way in the weeks to come.

  • Delivery, to go, and pickup orders can still take place but any in person pick-ups should be limited to five customers in a physical place of business at once, separated by 6 feet per CDC guidance. 
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies are encouraged to remain open but may have reduced hours.



Metro Transit will no longer have bus or rail service from 11PM to 4:30PM. If you must take transit, we recommend wearing gloves and other measures to avoid directly touching anything on bus or the train with your bare hands, wearing a scarf or a mask while on transit, keeping 6 feet away from people if at all possible during your ride, and washing and sanitizing your hands after your ride.



There is a state hotline open for school and child care questions for Minnesota residents that is open 7am to 7pm everyday of the week: 651-297-1304.



If you are laid off or have hours reduced due to the virus response, unemployment resources are available at Because of the sheer number of cases, agency staff are asking folks to go to to sign up so phone lines aren’t overwhelmed. Other business and workers resources can be found on the Ramsey County website.



Lunds and Byerly’s is asking shoppers to please reserve 7AM-8AM store hours for those individuals most at risk of being compromised by COVID-19: for example, the elderly, people with respiratory issues or other immune system challenges. This helpful step could support vulnerable people in keeping food access while minimizing the risks of leaving home. Learn more here.



At this time, the Governor has stated that Minnesota is not considered at risk for food shortages during the course of the outbreak. It’s still critical to make sure families and individuals in need can access food safely in the coming weeks. Below are Ward 4 food shelves - please know that our office will continue to compile a list and we welcome your suggestions. We recommend that you call before you go to confirm hours and operations.


Franciscan Brothers of Peace

Address: 1289 Lafond Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

Phone: (651) 646-8586


Keystone Community Services Midway Food Shelf

Address: 1916 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104

Phone: (651) 917-3792

M-F 9am to 12:30pm


Department of Indian Work

Address: 1671 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

Phone: (651) 789-3849


Monday 2-6

Tuesday 10am -2pm

Wednesday 10am -2pm

Thursday 10am -2pm



I have reached out to area groups and Ward 4 district councils serving our elderly neighbors to learn how our office can coordinate and support essential services like safe food delivery and other needs that may arise in the coming weeks. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at with requests for help.



Starting next week (Wed. March 25), Councilmembers will have the option to join full council meetings remotely, and many legislative items are being rescheduled or postponed for several weeks in order to comply with CDC guidance and safeguard the public health. Council offices will work remotely, and previously scheduled city public engagement events will move online or be postponed.


As your Councilmember of well over a year now, I know how much you all love to attend quietly legendary public hearings and sit shoulder-to-shoulder in the Council Chambers with friends and strangers alike to make your voice heard on the issues of the day. We love your engagement and you as our residents, and we simply cannot continue to hold public hearings or risk resident safety by conducting business as usual without being able to guarantee social distancing or following other CDC guidance on gatherings of 10 or more people. My priority as a Councilmember is to balance the urgency of public health and safety with the great importance of continuing to have your voice heard. We can still always be reached as a full office at, and you can still submit public comments on upcoming legislative items through the Legistar system. Stay tuned to our official Facebook and Twitter where we’ll do our best to re-post online public engagement opportunities and other updates.


For now, to guarantee that you can continue to help shape our city for years to come, please, please, please - stay healthy and stay home.



  • Yesterday, the Ramsey County Board approved spending $1.8 million to open two facilities for isolation and quarantine for those experiencing homelessness, with a total capacity of 200. Details of the locations and services have not been finalized but our office will be sure to share as they are known. 
  • Beginning Tuesday, March 17, Ramsey County will suspend all walk-up services except for emergency and 24/7 operations. Phone-based and online services will still be available. Public entrances will be closed and signed at high-traffic locations that include but are not limited to:
    • Parks buildings.
    • Government Center East.
    • 90 West Plato.
    • Saint Paul CareerForce Center.
    • Ramsey County libraries.
  • On Monday, March 23, county services will reopen with redesigned approaches that drastically reduce person-to-person contact while ensuring welcoming, accessible, equitable and efficient service options throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 emergency.



Governor Walz signed a $200 million relief package into law today after lawmakers passed funding early this morning. The health care response fund is aimed at helping front-line workers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, including to pay staff, set up temporary testing and treatment units, purchase protective gear and make other changes aimed at slowing the spread of the contagious virus.



One incredibly impactful thing you can do at home during this time is take your U.S. Census. I did my census online from home over the weekend, and it took me all of 4 minutes. It is 100% confidential and protected by law. Please take a moment and make sure you are counted so we have all the resources we need for everyone to succeed. #WeCountMN



Every day feels like a week right now, and every week feels like a year, but this is going to be a long process with new information every day. Protect your head and heart as much as you protect your body. Think about your choices not just as individual ones but as actions with potential ripple effects for the public health and safety of your neighbors. Imagine a world with full paid medical and family leave, fully funded public schools, a fair and non-exploitative economy, decommodified social housing and homes for all, expansive and efficient fare-free transit, and competent national leadership that respects science and the law.


I will keep doing my part at the city to honor the responsibility you’ve given me and to meet the challenges of this extraordinary time. None of us can get through this alone, and to that end, your city council office will be here in every way we can.


Signing off remotely for now, here’s your Ward 4 team:


Councilmember Mitra Jalali and Felix:



Matt Privratsky, Legislative and Policy Aide, Monaco and Pounce



Stacy Swanson, Executive Assistant, JMS and Violet