Last week the Governor of Minnesota issued a new Emergency Executive Order, 21-07. This order made some significant changes to existing protocol that can affect what we are doing in Scouting. The order became effective as of Feb. 13, 2021.
The order states that, with the exception of the circumstances listed below, all other provisions of the previous order currently in place will remain in place. The changes we can see that would affect Scouting relate to “celebrations and receptions”. Scouting examples would include recognition events and celebrations such as Eagle Scout Courts of Honor, Blue and Gold Banquets, Recognition Dinners, and other similar events.
The order states that indoor venues may “host private celebrations, receptions, parties, or other private events” where a Covid-19 Preparedness Plan is in place and be limited to a room capacity of 25% with a maximum of no more than 50 people. Occupancy of outdoor spaces is not to exceed 250 people.
Other provisions of this executive order do not seem to be applicable to most Scouting activities. Commercial venues and gymnasiums where Scouts may visit are covered by the order and will establish their own conditions whereby Scouts may participate in activities at their location.
In accordance with these changes, and in compliance with other state’s regulations, we are approving a change in these specific circumstances for Scouting. All VAC Scouting units may now begin to plan and hold courts-of-honor, blue and gold banquets, recognition dinners, etc. in accordance with the rules listed above in the third paragraph.
All other Council Scouting protocols currently in place will remain in place.
Any changes presuppose the continued exercise of good judgement and following good hygiene practices:
- Wear a mask or face covering at all times when indoors at a Scout gathering or meeting of any kind.
- Each individual must commit to distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet.
- Rooms that are used for Scout gathering must be large enough to accommodate distancing rules of at least 6 feet for each person and avoid close contact.
- Contact tracing questions which have been in place for several months are to be asked as each person checks into the meeting or activity. (Persons that have any questionable contact with anyone testing positive for the virus or that is currently ill should opt out of the meeting or activity, and upon review of the questions will be asked to leave the meeting.)
- Temperature checks should be done each time the group gathers.
- Materials for disinfecting items and for washing/disinfecting hands must be available and used as applicable.
Rules for travel, camping, and use of Council properties and buildings remain as currently issued.
Local laws and restrictions may be more strict than these guidelines, which would supersede them. Additionally, localized outbreaks may occur. As these occur, we would expect local Scouting leaders to use their best judgement about limiting meetings and activities until the threat from the outbreak has passed.
We want to express our thanks to all our units, Scouts, and families for the proper care you all have exercised in keeping everyone safe and healthy. We continue pray and hope for significant changes that will allow all of us to put the strictest regulations behind us and return to the great outdoors where we might meet one another and have some great Scouting adventures.
Michael Jenkins, Scout Executive
Stacey Dennee, Council Risk Management Chair