Coronavirus in Southeast Minnesota: Cancellations, News, and Helpful Links
Townsquare Media will provide continuous updates on the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including the latest news, cancellations, and public health information on this page. Let us know if you have important info to share with the community -- email: email@example.com��or send us a message here.
Questions about COVID-19? Call the MN Dept of Health COVID-19 Hotline at
Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
World Health Organization
Minnesota Dept of Health
Olmsted County Public Health
MN Board of Nursing
IRS - high deductible health plans can cover coronavirus costs
SE Minnesota Business Deals and Services During COVID-19 Pandemic
Online Church Services
News, Information & Cancellations
- Trump Extends Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30th
Cancellations & Closures:
School closures extended through April 30. See individual school plans below.
- Blooming Prairie Schools -- Distance Learning starts March 30.
Elementary Distance Learning Plan | High School Distance Learning Plan
- Byron Public Schools -- Distance Learning begins March 30 Read the Full Plan Here
- Caledonia Schools -- Distance Learning begins March 30. READ FULL PLAN HERE
- Faribault Public Schools - Distance Learning begins March 30. READ FULL PLAN HERE
- Kasson-Mantorville Schools -- Flex Learning begins March 30. READ FULL PLAN HERE
- Lanesboro Public Schools - Distance Learning begins March 30
Elementary Plans | Secondary Plans
- Lyle Public Schools -- Distance Learning begins March 30. READ FULL PLAN HERE
- Minneapolis College (MCTC) spring break has been extended through March 29. Classes will resume Monday, March 30 through alternative delivery formats.
- NRHEG Schools - Distance Learning March 30 - May 4. READ FULL PLAN HERE
- Owatonna Public Schools -- Distance Learning March 30 - April 30. READ FULL PLAN HERE
- Rochester Catholic Schools -- Distance Learning extended from March 30 through at least April 30. Spring Break will be observed from March 27 through April 3 as planned.
- Rochester Montessori School has decided to close effective Monday, March 16 through April 5th.
- Rochester Public Schools - Distance Learning (DL) through April 30. Distance Learning will not occur during Spring Break (March 27 - April 5). Distance Learning will begin for all RPS students, other than Longfellow Elementary, on April 6. DL will begin for Longfellow on April 13. Expect communication from your school on or before April 6 on what DL will look like for your child. In event that we are able to return to learning in the classroom in May, the first day back for students would be May 5. May 1 and May 4 would be "planning" days for district staff.. Get child care, and meal service info HERE.
- Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) - Classes will resume with alternative delivery formats on MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020. The RCTC Campus will remain open with modified hours. From March 20th - March 29th, campus hours are Monday-Friday (8:00 am – 4:30 pm) and closed on the weekends. READ THE LATEST INFO HERE.
- Triton Schools -- Distance Learning March 30 - April 30. READ FULL PLAN HERE
Other Cancellations & Closures:
- Albert Lea City Arena CLOSED through March 31. No programming or meetings in the facility for outside groups. All recreation programming is canceled through March 31. Senior Center is CLOSED through March 31. All programming and trips are canceled.
- Assisi Heights Tours SUSPENDED until further notice
- "A Night in Monte Carlo" event benefiting the Legal Assistance of Olmsted County POSTPONED
- Austin City Facilities CLOSED to public through March 27. Includes City Hall, park and recreation, arenas, library, fire station. City staff will continue to work in all facilities in a limited capacity to provide essential city services.
- Bethel Lutheran Church, Rochester All group meetings including worship are CANCELED immediately. Our worship service will be available by 10am here
- Boys & Girls Club of Rochester -- building will remain closed until May 4, 2020. launching Virtual Club on Monday, March 30th! Virtual Club is an online experience that gives kids an opportunity to connect with supportive, caring and familiar staff members in fun and creative activities. READ MORE HERE.
- Christ United Methodist Church is CLOSED. Call (507) 289-4019 and listen to our message for assistance. Beginning 3/28, Saturday Noon Meals is canceled until further notice. Sunday services will be live-streamed at 9am and 11am at facebook.com/cumethodist. Look us up on YouTube or listen to our radio broadcast on KOLM 1520AM at 11:30am on Sundays. A daily devotional with our pastors will occur at 8pm each evening on our Facebook page. Thrift on 5th Store, AA, and GA are canceled until further notice.
- Community Band Concert, Rochester -- CANCELLED
- Clean and Safe Ambassador Program: The Rochester Downtown Alliance Clean and Safe Ambassador Program’s vendor, Block by Block, said their company is delaying the launch of any new accounts (including downtown Rochester’s) by at least 30 days. They’ve made this decision in order to focus their resources on supporting existing programs and employees already deployed and are being severely affected by COVID-19. This decision shifts downtown Rochester’s prospective program launch date from April 1 to May 1 (for now). The RDA will be in touch with Block by Block project managers weekly for updates on a potential launch date.
- Dodge County Driver's License and Passport Services -- SUSPENDED until April 6
- Dodge County Expo CANCELLED
- First English Lutheran Church, Faribault -- worship services CANCELED March 22nd and 29th. 9 am worship service will be broadcast on KDHL 920 AM
- Graham Arena, Rochester CLOSED until further notice
- Hy-vee Rochester food prep classes SUSPENDED
- Kasson Police Department building will be closed to the general public Starting on 3/17/20 until further notice. Instead, we will be responding to most matters by phone. If you need assistance please call our office at (507) 634-3881. KPD will maintain regular staffing levels and respond to emergency situations during this time. However, we will be limiting our face-to-face contacts for the safety of our officers and the general public. At this time, if you have an application of any sort to drop off please put it in the black mailbox to the right of the front door. We will be checking this throughout the day. We will not be accepting medications in our drop off box at this time, so please just hang onto them until we open back up.
- Ladies’ Night Out will be POSTPONED. Rochester Downtown Alliance will contact participating businesses separately with the next steps.
- Maple Leaf Parish UM Churches: Faith, Cherry Grove and Fountain worship services, events, activities, large groups are SUSPENDED through March 29th
- Mayo Civic Center -- CLOSED
- MnDOT Postponing All Public Meetings, Open Houses
- Moland Men's Pancake Breakfast scheduled for April 5 has been CANCELLED
- MSHSL -- There will be no MSHSL activities and athletics at any member school. This includes all participation including, but not limited to training, practices, scrimmages, and contests. The previous MSHSL directive prohibiting scrimmages, contests and competitions with other MSHSL programs for Spring activities and athletics will continue until April 6, 2020.
- MSHSL -- the remainder of the Girls State Basketball Tournament and Boys Section and State Basketball Tournaments have been CANCELED.
- National Volleyball Center, Rochester — CLOSED until further notice
- North American Farm & Power Show in Owatonna has been CANCELED
- Northgate Health Club -- CLOSED
- Owatonna FFA Alumni Banquet for April 17th will be rescheduled, date TBD
- Owatonna Parks and Recreation announcements: West Hills Social Commons (formerly Senior Place) is CLOSED through March 29. All programming is suspended through then. West Hills Tennis and Fitness Center is CLOSED through March 29. Therapeutic Recreation activities are suspended through March 29. Adult and youth swimming events and Lifeguard & WSI training at Owatonna Middle School are CANCELED through March 29.
- Owatonna Public Utilities is CLOSING its office to customers and visitors until further notice. Payment options include their website www.owatonnautilites.com and their Smart Hub app, or call 507-451-2480
- Owatonna United Methodist Church is CANCELING all Wednesday night activities and Sunday services through the end of March.
- Quarry Hill Nature Center will CLOSE the nature center starting March 14, 2020.
- Recreation Center, Rochester — CLOSED until further notice.
- Rochester Eagles Club -- CLOSED
- Rochester Public Library -- CLOSED starting March 18 until further notice
- Rochester Recycling Center Plus CLOSED March 27 at 4:30 PM through April 10, 2020
- Rochester Symphony "Cheers to 40 Years" Concert POSTPONED
- Rochester Civic Theatre has CANCELLED all shows.
- RPU Annual Arbor Day Celebration scheduled for April 24 has been CANCELED. Poster contest for elementary students is still moving forward. Posters are selected from submissions from local elementary classrooms to be used in the upcoming RPU calendar.
- Social Security Offices -- All Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17.
- Special Olympics Minnesota is SUSPENDING all sports training, practices and competition activities, Polar Plunges and other events involving our athletes beginning now through April 5, 2020.
- Steele County American Dairy Association banquet for April 4 is CANCELED
- St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls -- normal church activities have been SUSPENDED until April 2, including Sunday worship and coffee fellowship, and Wednesday evening Lenten worship, soup supper, and youth activities.
- St. Micheals St. Patrick’s Day dinner and fish fry CANCELED.
- Thursdays Downtown planning will move forward AS SCHEDULED at this time.
- World Cup Ski Competition in Minneapolis CANCELED
The city of Rochester (3/24/20:
Moratorium on Parking Meter Enforcement: City Administration issued a 30-day moratorium on meter enforcement, effective immediately. This temporary measure, supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the Rochester Downtown Alliance, is subject to change as necessary to meet the needs of the community. Businesses that require parking for take-out services can obtain a Right of Way permit from the Public Works Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This measure further loosens parking restrictions in the downtown district in order to support the City’s economic stability objectives. Parkers are urged to only use these metered spaces for short term use. Last week, the city announced an end to season parking requirements such as alternate side parking. Also, the enforcement of residential parking permit zones has been suspended until the end of March.
All other parking ordinances remain in effect including no parking zones (including driveways, fire hydrants, and mailboxes), and overnight parking restrictions. Please observe all posted signs in the downtown area.
Rochester City Lines (3/18/20):
Q: What is RCL doing to ensure commuter buses are safe and clean?
A: We have added staff to our sanitation team to ensure prompt and thorough cleaning occurs across our fleet of equipment. Our team is disinfecting high touch areas daily with a variety of cleaning products and disinfectant solutions. These areas cleaned include:
• Handrails for entering and exiting the vehicle
• Driver steering wheel
• Dash area
• Overhead parcel bin surfaces and handles
• Restroom door handles
• Restroom handrails
• Exterior baggage door handles
Q: Is RCL going to stop running commuter buses?
A: No. Our Mayo Clinic employee ticket portal remains open and available for 10-Ride ticket and Monthly pass purchases. We do not have any plans to suspend service, and we are maintaining our normal practices monitoring ridership. We make service decisions based on ridership, and any changes to schedules or times will be communicated through our website, email and social media channels.
Q: How is RCL handling social distancing?
A: RCL recognizes and respects the Minnesota Department of Health's recommendations regarding social distancing. Accordingly, with Mayo Clinic's support, beginning Thursday, March 19th we will be implementing a 50% capacity limit on all commuter buses until further notice. Aisle seats will be restricted from use, and all passengers should use window seats. On routes where the 50% capacity limit is exceeded, a second bus will be available for passengers.
Q: Where can I find my bus downtown?
A: Mayo Clinic is opening a COVID-19 testing site in the current commuter bus transit hub (Mayo Clinic Lot 6). Effective this afternoon, Wednesday, March 18th, ALL COMMUTER BUSES WILL BE RELOCATED OUT OF LOT 6 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. For new commuter bus stand locations, please visit our website. There are no changes to the pickup or drop-off areas at the St. Marys Campus.
Rochester Community Warming Center Extending Hours (3/18/20)
Catholic Charities would like to assure the community that we are not planning to close the Rochester Community Warming Center at this time. We are keeping a close watch on the COVID19 situation, and we are following recommendations for increasing protective measures for all guests, staff, and volunteers. Rochester Community Warming Center will also be extending our hours until further notice. The Center will open to guests at 8 pm and guests can remain until 8 am. Volunteer shifts will not be affected by this change, but additional staff will be present at the center to assist with additional cleaning and sanitation of the site. The Center appreciates the community's ongoing care and concern for our guests at this time.
Salvation Army, Rochester (3/18/20)
The Salvation Army is working to ensure that the basic needs of our most vulnerable community members are still met in the face of COVID-19. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the following changes will be put into effect immediately:
The Salvation Army’s daily served lunch program is “to-go” only. Meals will be provided in carryout containers to avoid congregate dining.
Social services appointments will be handled via phone call or email whenever possible. In-person appointments will include safe social distancing.
In order to encourage hygiene and sanitation, Showers will still be available to people as needed.
Our common waiting areas will be limited to those with appointments as we practice safe social distancing.
The Salvation Army Rochester Church and Worship Center have suspended all church programming.
The Good Samaritan Medical Clinic is under transition and adjustment. Our Emergency Dental Clinic is operational and continuing to serve as usual. The Pharmacy is still providing important refills and medications to our most vulnerable population. People are still able to schedule appointments to receive care at 507-529-4100.
The Caring Partners Adult Day Program is closed and will remain so until new directives are given. Program staff will communicate with participants and their families when it is safe to re-open.
Tax appointments have been suspended for the foreseeable future. Please call 507-287-1958 for questions or concerns.
Taste of the Town has been rescheduled. The new event date will be communicated with the public when it is set.
Please call 507-288-3663 with any questions. All of us at The Salvation Army are grateful for the incredible support we receive from this community, and we would like to thank everyone for their cooperation during these tumultuous times.
Olmsted County Services
Olmsted County will continue to provide essential services to our residents, but it is prudent to limit public access to our facilities at this time. Effective Wednesday, March 18, the following changes will be made to our services:
- The Government Center building will remain open but counter services for public records and licensing, such as passports and driver’s licenses, will be closed. We will be able to continue providing many services via phone and online, and a drop-box will be placed near the information desk for applications, requests for certificates, and tax payments. Property, Records, and Licensing can be reached by calling 507-328-7670.
The Sheriff’s Office service window for civil warrants at the Government Center and Dodge Fillmore Olmsted (DFO) Community Corrections window will also be closed. DFO Community Corrections can be reached at 507-328-7200.
- The following Olmsted County buildings at our Campus Drive S.E. location will be closed to the public: 2117, 2100, and 2122. This will affect counter service for public programs including:
- Building 2117:Child and Family Services, Housing (HRA) and Food, Cash & Health Care Assistance. Child and Family Services can be reached at 507-328-6400. For Food, Cash and Health Care Assistance, please call 507-328-6500. The Housing & Redevelopment Authority can be reached by calling 507-328-7150.
- Building 2100: Public Health Services, such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) clinics, Adult and Family Services, and Veteran Services. Public Health can be reached at 507-328-7500 (COVID-19 questions 507-328-4636). Veteran Services can be reached at 507-328-6355. Adult and Family Services can be reached at 507-328-6400.
- Building 2122: Planning services such as applications for permits and GIS services. Building, well, and septic inspection services are available and can be scheduled online and by phone. Contact the Planning Department directly about building, permit, and land use application submittals at 507-328-7100.
These temporary closures will be in effect until April 6. During this time, we will continue delivering many of our services through alternate means and will be working to design new ways of delivering services that currently depend on face-to-face contact. Residents are encouraged to check our website for updates.
All emergency services in public safety and in health, housing, human services, will continue to be delivered even though lobbies and waiting areas may be closed to the public.
Olmsted County Public Meetings
The March 24 Board of Commissioners and committee meetings are canceled.
All other public meetings, advisory boards, and commissions are canceled until April 6.
Other Olmsted County Facilities, Events, and Activities
The following additional facilities, events, and activities are also closed or postponed, effective March 18:
County Parks – all county parks buildings are closed through April 6, including the Oxbow Park Nature Center, Zollman Zoo, and park offices. All classes and education programs will also be canceled through April 30. Oxbow, Root River, and Chester Woods parks and trails will remain open.
Graham Park Facilities – will not be taking reservations or events through April 30, with the exception of the Farmer’s Market in Building 35.
Waste-to-Energy Facility – tours are canceled through April 6.
Hazardous Waste Facility and Recycling Center Plus– closed through April 6.
Compost Site – closed through April 6.
Community Services Volunteer Driver Program – suspended until further notice.
Minnesota Third Judicial District Court – consistent with all Minnesota courts, the Third Judicial District Court facilities, including service windows, will remain open. The public is discouraged from making any non-essential visit to court facilities. All jury trials currently underway will continue until the trial is complete. Depending on priority rating, some trials will proceed as scheduled and some will be suspended for 14 days. The Minnesota Judicial Branch has defined case priorities categories. Please contact the court for specific information on individual cases.
Reduced Hours at University Square in Rochester
Beginning March 16, reduced hours will occur at University Square in downtown Rochester for most retailers. UMR, the coffee shops, and restaurants may have different hours and the skyway system will be open regular hours. Most retail shops will be open noon to 6 pm Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays. UMR, the restaurants, and the coffee shop may be open additional hours. Please contact the appropriate business to confirm the hours they are open if you have questions. This change is being made due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An announcement will be made once University square goes back to their regular hours.
City of Rochester( 3/14/20)
Based on the guidance provided by Governor Walz, Commissioner Malcolm and the Minnesota Department of Health, the following actions are being implemented immediately and effective until April 30, 2020 or until otherwise announced. The goal of these Community Mitigation Measures is to reduce person-to-person contact and ultimately spread of the disease.
City of Rochester Organizational Actions:
§ Riverside Concerts
o The Gaëlle Wondje World Music concert scheduled for March 20, 2020 has been postponed.
§ Rochester Public Library
o The library continues to stay open.
o All library programs are cancelled until further notice.
o The library Bookmobile service is suspended until further notice.
o Library due dates have been extended. All items checked out are currently not due until at least April 30, 2020.
§ Parks & Recreation
o Graham Arena, the National Volleyball Center and the Recreation Center (does not include 125 Live space) will be closed beginning March 14, 2020.
o AccessABLE Recreation activities have been cancelled.
§ Partner Organizations
o The Rochester Civic Theatre has cancelled all shows.
o 125 Live will continue to remain open and will be taking various precautions and steps in the coming days.
o The Mayo Civic Center/Experience Rochester will continue to remain open and work with those holding events and activities in the space to best follow the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health.
o Quarry Hill Nature Center will close the nature center starting March 14, 2020.
Carleton College, Northfield
As a result of extensive conversations among College leadership—including faculty governance, the College Council, and the Board of Trustees—we are moving to limit the number of people on campus and to teach at least the first half of Spring Term 2020 courses remotely, helped by a one-week extension of spring break. We believe—based on the most current information available—that this is the best way to protect our students, faculty, staff, and neighbors, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. READ FULL MESSAGE FROM THE COLLEGE PRESIDENT
Rochester Police / Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Records Department:
As you know, one of the recommendations from the CDC in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to distance yourself from other people and avoid close contact. In an effort to reduce the potential spread of this virus, the Rochester Police Department / Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Records Division would like to share with the public options available to request police reports without making an in-person request.
How to Request Law Enforcement Records during this time:
Law Enforcement Center
101 SE 4th Street
Rochester, MN 55904
Records will be sent to you in the mail, so be sure to provide a valid mailing address In addition, you may be asked to provide payment and if requesting non-public data, we will need a copy of the requestor’s driver’s license or some type of photo ID.And lastly, be sure to include a valid phone number for records staff to contact you. For additional questions regarding making a records request. Call Records at 507-328-6811 during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM
Friends of the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota:
In an overabundance of caution, and with a focus on the health and safety of children and families, the House is taking the following steps to minimize the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exposure to guests, staff, and volunteers:
All volunteers will be screened at the front door and asked to complete a screening survey regarding travel, exposure, and/or illness.
House Dinners by outside volunteer groups will be paused until further notice. Ronald McDonald House staff will make every effort to provide an evening meal for guest families Monday through Thursday, as budget allows.
Outside Group/Individual Visits:
All visits by groups (classes, sports teams, service clubs, etc.) and/or individuals will be paused until further notice. No House tours will be offered to visitors.
All program activities involving outside visitors will be temporarily paused, including: Paw Pals, Visiting Artist, Game Night, Music Therapy, and more.
All committee meetings will be held via phone conference until further notice.
All board meetings will be held via phone conference until further notice.
A donation cart and the pop tab house will be placed in the front vestibule for individuals making donations. RMHMN staff will greet donors in the vestibule.