West Fargo Police responds to new COVID-19 state requirements


To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the West Fargo Police Department is ready to assist with Governor Doug Burgum’s new mitigation measures, starting with education.

Friday night Governor Burgum announced new requirements to lower the spread of coronavirus. It is now a requirement for individuals to wear face coverings in indoor businesses and indoor public health settings, as well as outdoor public health settings where physical distancing of 6 feet or more is not possible. This order is in effect until Dec. 13, 2020.

All bars, restaurants and food service establishments are limited to 50% capacity, not to exceed 150 patrons, and must close to in-person service from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Banquet, ballroom and event venues are also limited to 25%, not to exceed new capacity limits. Physical distancing and masks are required for venue personnel and patrons. The announcement also included a suspension of high school winter sports and extracurricular K-12 school activities, except for playoff championship contests and performance events during November.

These actions add responsibilities to the West Fargo Police Department, which they plan to address by providing education and relying on the community to follow the requirements.

“Education and personal responsibility is the West Fargo Police Department’s first priority and focus,” said Denis Otterness, Chief of Police. “We do not have the resources to respond to every individual call for service regarding occupancy or face covering violation concerns, so we are encouraging all residents, business owners, managers, and visitors of the City of West Fargo to follow these new measures. This will help keep our officers focused on crime and emergency response, and help slow the spread of the coronavirus.”

The West Fargo Police Department will coordinate educational efforts with the City Attorney’s office to inform businesses when an infraction occurs. On a first offense, the West Fargo Police Department will work with Fargo Cass Public Health to follow up on known premises violating the occupancy executive order or not enforcing the face-covering requirement and may issue fines if the violation is repeated or egregious. For offenses where the public health is clearly at risk, those violators will be cited for an infraction, which can carry a fine of up to $1,000. All occupancy egregious violators will be documented and forwarded to the City Attorney’s office and applicable boards and commissions to track and determine if additional actions need to be taken.

The WFPD is encouraging residents not to try to resolve non-compliance issues on their own, but to call the department at (701)-433-5500. Officers will respond as resources are available. The community should also remember there are exemptions to the face-covering requirement and individuals do not need to provide proof of that exemption.