In response to a meteoric rise in COVID-19 positive cases in the Fargo metro, increased hospitalizations and an unprecedented death rate, Fargo Mayor Dr. Tim Mahoney has issued an Emergency Executive Order on Limitation of Occupancy.  This order, which will go into effect at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, November 16, seeks to effectively enforce Governor Doug Burgum’s Occupancy Limitation Order of 50% capacity (or a maximum of 150 people, whichever is less).

The Mayoral Executive Order will be in place until 2:01 a.m. on December 15, but may be extended as conditions require. The Mayoral Executive Order supplements the statewide executive order, ensuring local authority to invoke fines and the potential to revoke liquor licenses from non-compliant businesses. The Mayor’s order also specifically addresses religious gatherings (including weddings and funerals), which have been identified regionally as a source of community spread of COVID-19.

Under the Mayor’s emergency executive order, Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH)’s COVID Business Response Team will function in a proactive role to provide education to businesses, religious gathering places and other settings where there may be potential for an assembly where the size would exceed the order. Education will include specifics from the Mayor’s order, as well as COVID-19 risk mitigation measures.  If the COVID Business Response Team is made aware of an event that would not be in compliance with the order, staff will contact the facility hosting the event and inform them of the parameters set forth by the executive order. The COVID Business Response Team will clarify the occupancy maximums in the order. Once education has been provided, the response team will notify the Fargo Police Department of the event so they can monitor to ensure it meets compliance with the order. Prior to the orders implementation, Environmental Health staff members will contact local churches, funeral homes, event centers, restaurants and bars to ensure they receive the proper education behind the order and are made aware of the limitations.

Members of the public are encouraged to contact the FCPH COVID Business Response Team at 701.241.1346 with any questions, comments or to report concerns.

The Fargo Police Department (FPD) stands ready to support the executive order regarding occupancy limits in an effort to support the health of the community. The FPD, in collaboration with Fargo Cass Public Health, will focus its efforts on large, licensed premises in the City of Fargo by monitoring premises where known issues of occupancy exist. Occupancy violations will be documented and forwarded to the City Attorney’s Office where that office will then determine whether a violation occurred.

The FPD will be undertaking an active role in implementation of this order.  The FPD recognizes the community’s desire to help enforce the executive order. As with any law enforcement situation it is important to understand the role of discretion in application. The FPD will be working closely with Fargo Cass Public Health to follow up on known premises violating the occupancy executive order.