Burgum modifies 'quarantine' order; relaxes requirements for PSC, Land Board hearings | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Burgum modifies 'quarantine' order; relaxes requirements for PSC, Land Board hearings

Apr 9, 2020

Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Burgum Administration has made some modifications to a “travel quarantine” order, after Minnesota was named a “hot spot” for COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control.

The order says anyone traveling to North Dakota from a “hot spot” would have to to be quarantined for 14 days. That order was expanded to include all states. But Gov. Doug Burgum said some exceptions have been created, especially for border states.

"We had all kinds of people saying, 'Hey, I'm a nurse, and I live in East Grand Forks, but I work at Altru in Grand Forks. Can I still go to work?' The answer is yes," Burgum told reporters. "People in Fargo who may get their prescriptions from Walgreens in Moorhead, said, 'Can we go to Moorhead, and if we go, can we come back?' The answer is yes."

Other exemptions include outdoor activities. That includes out of state people who come to fish in North Dakota – as long as they follow CDC guidelines.

"If we see people starting to bunch up on bridges, we'll close fishing on bridges," Burgum said. "If we see people bunching up at boat ramps, we can close boat ramps."

Burgm said he will be working with the state Game and Fish Department, to try to do this on a targeted basis.

"They key is using common sense," Burgum said.

'Virtual' public hearings

Burgum has signed an executive order waiving the requirements that the Public Service Commission has to hold on-site public hearings in siting cases.

"They can hold a virtual public hearing," Burgum said.

Burgum said it is still important for the PSC to receive public comment on those issues.

"Now, with people working from home, people from a dispersed geography will be able to attend electronically," Burgum said. "There's a chance, and we've seen this happen in other areas over the years, we can increase public participation through this."

The order also covers public land auctions by the state Land Commissioner. Currently, those auctions are held in the county seat in the affected counties.