A health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic was enacted Monday in Brooklyn Center and will remain in effect until the City Council takes action to end it.

Mayor Mike Elliott declared an emergency due to the rapidly spreading Delta variant responsible for a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. A declaration can last only three days, but with the council's 3-2 vote the emergency will remain active until rescinded.

In a separate action, the council approved a measure requiring anyone 2 or older to wear a mask in city facilities and city schools.

The emergency declaration allows Brooklyn Center to enact its pandemic emergency plans if needed. The ordinance the council passed Monday did not list any specific actions the city would take although it does allow for City Council meetings to continue to be held online. Monday's meeting was shifted from an in-person meeting and held virtually.

"If I need to act, I should be able to act as mayor," Elliott said in lobbying for extending the health emergency. "It is scary out there for all of us."

Elliott said the city has been a COVID hot spot and has experienced high infection rates.

With passage of the second measure, masks will be required at all city-operated sites and in the city's schools. The mask requirement does not apply to private businesses or retail outlets.

"Thank you to the City Council for taking steps to protect the health of BC residents & visitors," the mayor wrote in a tweet after the meeting.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768