ST. PAUL -- There's some been some controversy over Governor Tim Walz' hotline that allows residents to report violations of the stay-at-home order.

State Republicans are asking Governor Walz to take down the hotline, to which he is saying no.

Senator Jeff Howe of Rockville says he disagrees with the effectiveness of the hotline.

Rather than serve as a resource, this hotline will only spread fear and mistrust amongst neighbors and communities. Rather than cause neighbors to spy on neighbors, we should trust Minnesotans to use their common sense.

Governor Walz has said the hotline serves an educational function.

It allows people just to try and keep their neighbors safe if people see someone who isn't informed about the stay-at-home order.

Stearns County Public Health Director Renee Frauendienst says there have been concerns that social distancing isn't always being practiced in our communities.

This is something people need to do for their neighbors, although it may be inconvenient. Even if you're healthy or young, you need to take precautions because you could save someone's life.

Health officials strongly encourage all residents to be diligent about following social distancing guidelines.

Any questions about the coronavirus can be answered by calling the Stearns/Benton County hotline at 320-656-6625.

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