Faribault Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Dustin Dienst says there may be some good things that come out of the current pandemic.  Dienst told KDHL AM Minnesota listeners Monday if people continue to practice washing hands properly maybe we will have a healthier society.

" We might see less cases of the seasonal flu and hopefully less people dying of the flu because what we're doing to prevent COVID will also prevent the flu and many other illnesses."

When putting his Fire Chief hat on Dienst said initially when the pandemic struck there was a, "significant decrease in medical calls."  Those are starting to come back.

"Surprisingly we haven't had an uptick in cooking fires in homes which I kind of expected with more people cooking at home with restaurants closed.  Thankfully that hasn't happened."

Dienst emphasized if people would like to help by making masks they are still needed.  There are four drop off locations in Rice County.  The Government Services Building in Faribault, Lonsdale Police Station located at 115 Alabama Street, Morristown Public Works Building 109 Second Street Southwest and the Dundas Highway Shop 590 County Road 1 East.  A tub for mask donations is also located at the Faribault Fire Station.

Part of the Governor's new Stay order allows most businesses to be open if they have a COVID prevention plan.  They are supposed to be open at 50 percent occupancy.

Bars, restaurants, salons and barbershops are not allowed to fully open yet.

Dienst says most businesses probably aren't aware of what their occupancy is, "It's based on square footage.  It's something at the Fire Department we have been doing all along.   Technically it's supposed to be posted.  You see that sometimes.  If you don't know how many people you can have in your building and you want to go to the letter of the law we can come down.  We have to come into your business and bring the measuring wheel to determine the square footage.  Then give you the number for your business."