Resources during COVID-19 Pandemic

This coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has had a difficult impact to our lives, both related to our financial health as well as our overall physical health. We have gathered resources to help try to make things a little bit easier during this time.


Click here to review the new DECC COVID-19 Organizational Policy.


RESOURCES (2)    RESOURCES (3)
Most recent updates for employees:

To: DECC Staff
From: Roger Reinert, Interim Executive Director
Date: Friday, September 11, 2020
RE: Staff Update

This Wednesday we had a presidential campaign event at the DECC.  It’s the most high-profile event since the COVID era began.  I was proud of the way the DECC staff handled this event safely and professionally.  It was so great to see the DECC alive again!  These events help us promote the DECC’s abundance of space, and reminds our community members they can host a professional event here knowing we will assist them in following local and state health guidelines.  We continue to actively speak with State leaders to develop flexible capacity guidelines based on features such as entries, exits, bathrooms, and air filtration capacity.  The DECC is in a good position for these, and I continue to aggressively pursue these conversations so we stay relevant in the minds of those leaders.

This is not the situation we envisioned when our doors closed almost six months ago.  Expenses remain high and revenue is minimal.  I’ll continue regular staff updates, but will provide those as needed rather than on a weekly basis.  It’s going to be some time  before the DECC is what it was.  I will share again that I foresee us remaining a small staff for some time, and adding back slowly based on easing restrictions and returning business.  As I said last time – we’ll crawl before we walk before we run.  Thank you for making the DECC what it is today.  Reviving this wonderful asset will continue to be one of our highest priorities.

Roger

 


UPDATE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Roger Reinert, Interim Executive Director
Date: Friday, August 28th, 2020
RE: DECC Operations Update

Happy Friday All:

Undoubtedly, you have been following the news this week regarding the leadership transition at the DECC.  If you have specific questions that you feel are not answered in the attached press release please contact the DECC Board of Governors Chairwoman, Ms. Karen Pionk at 218.336.2719 or kpionk@sheratonduluth.com.

I am humbled to step into a leadership role for the DECC at this critical time.  The DECC is a foundational asset to Duluth, Northeastern Minnesota, and an entire hospitality and tourism industry.  We have been entrusted with decades of public investment and public tax dollars.  We have a high level of responsibility and accountability as a result.

When these weekly emails began, most everyone thought the pandemic would be over in a few months.  Instead, we are entering the seventh month of limited operations and limited staffing.  It’s been a struggle to bring earned revenue back into the building with a maximum occupancy of 250.  Meanwhile, the DECC continues to have significant fixed costs in repairs, utilities, unemployment payments, and insurance.  The financial situation is concerning, but I want to be clear the DECC is not closing.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, and there will be changes as we move forward.  There must.  I can’t tell you when the DECC will be “the DECC” again.  Vaccines, and therapeutics, and public confidence all play a role.  I can tell you we will crawl, before we walk, before we run.  Meaning – we will remain a small team until we have the business revenue again that allows us to hire back more staff.

Thank you for being passionate partners to the DECC – some of you for many years.  We know this is a difficult time.  In return we ask you to know that the team still here is fighting hard on a daily basis to ensure the DECC survives the pandemic and is positioned to reemerge strong and healthy, and ready to again serve it’s community mission.

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, August 19th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

Now this is the type of weather I like.  You can feel the fall in the air in the mornings. With September just around the corner, remember that September is National Preparedness Month.  It’s the perfect time to remember what “Always Be Ready” truly means as we maintain a preemptive and proactive mindset. Looking at the last 5 months we have all gained a lot of insight in ourselves and the world.

I know I’ve said it before, but last weekend has been the three busiest days we have seen on the Irvin.  I don’t see how it could get busier, but hope I’m proved wrong.

Greater Downtown Council Movies in the Parking Lot this Friday is Peanut Butter Falcon.  What a great night for a drive-in movie.  Come to DECC parking lot and enjoy it if you can.

This truly will be my last Wednesday update I will be sending out.  I will be retiring from the DECC as of August 21st, 2020 from what I can say has been a very rewarding career.  It has been my pleasure working here since 1990, being involved with all aspects of the complex from Symphony Hall (which we used to call the Auditorium) to the building of Amsoil Arena (where we have been entertaining the region since 2010 with hockey and world-class concerts). As great as the building is, it was the people that I have been graced to work with over all the years that has made my career so rewarding and memorable. Thank you, I wish you all well.

Now, with that being said, keep washing your hands and err on the side of caution for you and your family’s safety.

As always, stay safe, stay well and stay connected.

I believe I’ve heard the bell ring 3 times,
Joe

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

The Greater Downtown Council has added an extra area for Movies in the Parking Lot: $5.00 in the parking ramp. The August 14th movie is A Dog’s Journey.  It should be a sell-out so get your tickets soon.  It’s not a DECC event. However, it is good to see the parking lot filled with vehicles.

Earlier this week we had a home/hand-built, tall ship: The Schooner Huron Jewel of Drummond Island, MI. The sail boat was docked behind the DECC for a few days. What a fantastic boat: 78 ft. overall length, 14 ft. 8 in. beam with a draft of only 4 ft. 4 in.  It was good to see a tall ship behind the building, even if it was only one. I’m sure we will have many exciting vessels docked on the seawall once the City of Duluth upgrades the area behind the building.  The City has plans in the works.

The parking lot has had a slow, steady increase all summer long since the shutdown started. It’s moving forward, not stopping or going backward, and it’s reassuring to see the trend.

I hope you were able to visit a farmer’s market or gather fresh vegetables like I had mentioned last week. This is the time of year to take advantage of the growing season. Summer is short in Duluth so make the most of the opportunity while you can. Speaking of farmers, a friend once told me that every once in a while in life we need a policeman, a lawyer, a doctor and a preacher. However, we need a farmer three times a day, every day.

Take care, friends of the DECC.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
Joe


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

Again, last Sunday was our busiest day so far on the Irvin.  People are enjoying seeing the incredible ship and taking an interesting tour.

Hard to believe August is here.  We still have some summer left so get outside and enjoy the warm days.  The temperature is dropping a bit at night which is okay.  If you garden you’re probably taking advantage of some of the harvest.  If you don’t, the farmer’s markets have a lot to offer.

With the Minnesota and Wisconsin ordinance in effect, we must change with the evolving situations to do our part to combat this global pandemic.  We await what the future will be.  We will continue putting out our update email in the weeks coming up, however, it will have a slightly different look as others, besides myself, will be sharing information with all of you also.

As always, hoping this finds your family and friends safe and healthy.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
Joe


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

WOW, last weekend was hot.  It’s been awhile since we have had weather that intense.  Just think, 6 months from now we will have the other extreme.

Irvin is doing well.  It’s giving the people wandering the canal area another option of a fun, interesting event to do. Lots of people from the surrounding areas are touring, compared to the past where we had a larger percentage of people vacationing from distant states.

Last week the Duluth mask ordinance was attached.  It’s now superseded by the MN statewide ordinance that’s currently in place.  Hopefully this will have a positive effect on COVID-19 transmissions.

As always, we hope you, your family and friends are safe and healthy.

With encouragement to all,
Joe

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

I hope everyone enjoyed the cooler weather earlier this week and the much needed rain.

Greater Downtown Council’s Movies in the Parking Lot started last Friday with much success.  We wish them the same for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on the 24th.  They will then finish July with Jumanji on the 31st.  It’s hard to believe July is almost over.

The Irvin tours have been sailing along great.  Last Sunday was the busiest day so far this season and we have enjoyed welcoming excited guests to tour the boat.

We have ice in the AMSOIL for UMD hockey camp.  The event is going well and people are following the rules and safety protocols we have in place.  It’s a good start to the ice season.

If you haven’t seen the City of Duluth’s Mask Ordinance, it’s attached here.

As always, I hope this finds you, your family and friends well.

Stay safe, stay connected.
Joe

 


UPDATE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello DECC staff,

It was a wonderful thing to be able to reopen the Irvin doors this past weekend. We welcomed visitors that were happy to have more options available in the Canal Park area.  The protocols we have put in place to help ensure the health and safety of our guests worked well and people were respectful of the policies.

We currently have a few part-time positions for Irvin Tour Guides available. The position looks slightly different than it has in the past, and more details can be found HERE. If we are not able to fill these positions internally, we will promote the openings externally. No need for DECC employees to re-apply, simply email execadmin@decc.org if you are interested. Internal candidates will be first-come, first-served.

We hope you are all doing well and are enjoying the sunshine when it’s here.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected,
Joe

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, July 8th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello,

I’m hoping everyone had a safe and pleasant Independence Day on July 4th. It wasn’t like before, a lot of us celebrated differently and that’s okay.

Wonderful news: We have a Dance Competition in Symphony Hall this Friday and Saturday. It will be different than what we have had in the past. I wish we could have recalled full staff like it used to be. Unfortunately, we are managing with existing personnel and adding minimal staff to cover some of the necessary work.

One more positive event: The Movies in the Parking Lot will begin on Friday, the 17th, at 9pm. Maybe some of you remember the old drive in theaters or have just heard about them. It would be worth experiencing.

As always, I hope this this finds you well and safe.
Joe

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

I would have to say most of us are people persons. If you work at the DECC, you probably like working with other people and interacting with customers and co-workers.  Social/physical distancing is not our idea of a good time. We are working toward making this happen again. I know we all want to get back as quickly as we can, but regrettably, we are not quite there yet.

Pandemics are global in nature, but their impact is local. It has hit us hard, however, we are one of the greatest assets in the Duluth area and we’ll be back.

Like everyone else over the past few months, we have been forced to adjust, and adjust we will.

We still have the Movies in the Parking Lot coming up, starting July 17th, and want to remind you this is a Greater Downtown Council event.

Our daily and monthly parking is steadily, however slowly, increasing. And we are working on planning events within the guidelines we need to follow.

July 1st, 2020- a year for the history books as we adapt to the COVID-19 challenges.

I want to wish everyone a safe and pleasant Independence Day this 4th of July. As always, hoping this finds your family and friends safe and healthy.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected,
Joe

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

The last several months have been challenging for all as we were forced to make drastic changes.  I hope you know the tough choices were made for the long-term health and well-being of the DECC. These decisions were neither easy nor pleasant for anyone, we hope you understand. And we do understand everyone has to make choices that are best for themselves.

The event I spoke about last week in the parking lot before Doolittle will, unfortunately, not be happening at this time.

Since we all need to stay as positive as we can, I am optimistically waiting for July to see what turn of events it will bring for us and our surrounding communities.

It is difficult to believe that next weekend will be July 4th, celebrating Independence Day. I truly wish that everyone will be able to relax and celebrate in a safe manner. We wish for continued good health for you, your families and friends.

In closing, do something today that will make you better tomorrow.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
Joe

 


UPDATE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

As always, I hope this finds you well and safe.

A couple of updates:

At this time, it’s looking as though the Hockey camps may be moving from July to August. We will find out more next week.

On July 17th, Greater Downtown Council will be showing the first in a series of movies in the parking lot. Doolittle will start the series off.

And speaking of events in the parking lot, we are working on an event that will take place in the parking lot the week before Doolittle. This won’t reopen our building or recall staff just yet, but it’s an encouraging thought that events are getting closer to the DECC.

On another positive note, our daily and monthly parkers have been steadily increasing as more businesses are putting people back to work in the downtown area. Our Blue Bridge people are having quite a bit of traffic crossing too, especially on the weekend.

Now on a very sad note, Mark Hamilton passed away a few days ago. Mark was one of the cooks in the kitchen. Mark had been with us for just shy of 6 ½ years. He was always fun-loving and jovial. We will miss you, Mark. A Memorial gathering is being held today (06-17-2020) at 2:00pm in Portland Square at 1016 E 5th Street, Duluth, MN.

In closing, stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
Remember to use your time wisely.

Joe


UPDATE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, June 10th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

I hope this finds you safe and well during this time, as our lives have been altered in many ways beyond our control.

Once we accept that we can’t control everything, we can work on the things we CAN control. Make sure to look at the financial and wellness resources listed on the website again. We have tried to provide the best information possible. Reach out whenever needed.

Work is being done drafting the DECC’s policy on our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, along with the RV parking strategy. New information is available on the website for the RV parking.

Optimism is an important trait, as the state restrictions get dialed back again, starting today. While the DECC will continue to remain closed at this time, it’s exciting to see businesses around the community be able to open a little bit more. In case you haven’t seen them, here are a few highlighted details of the state’s new phase:

Phase III (beginning June 10)

Social Settings
Outdoors: Gatherings of 25 or less
Indoors: Gatherings of 10 or less
Drive-in gatherings per https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vehiclegather.pdf

Indoor events and entertainment
Capacity: 6 feet of social distance, max 25%, maximum of 250 people in an area – see guidance for additional details
Masks: Strongly recommended for workers and customers

Outdoor events and entertainment
Capacity: 6 feet of social distance, gatherings must not exceed 250 people – see guidance for additional details
Masks: Strongly recommended for workers and customers

Large public gatherings over 250 people
Still closed

For a full list, see Minnesota COVID-19 Response.

We are social creatures and we can’t wait to meet face-to-face again. People will be ready to get back to events and meetings. However, we must be patient. We have a ways to go before we will be hosting large groups again.

As always, stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
Joe

 


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

As the marathon continues, we not only have the COVID-19 threat against our lives, we also have the social difficulties going on.

The building is safe and secure. We did have 2 major water leaks last week, but fortunately, the Engineering staff was on top of them immediately and resolved the issues.

With June’s new phase here, more business are optimistically going to open or ramp up to improve the economy and stabilize our community.

Some updates on July events:
Unfortunately, the Dog show canceled. We, as the planning group, felt the event could have gone on. It would have been different, of course, but still doable. The next event after that is a hockey clinic in the AMSOIL. We feel this can safely be done with minimal staff under the guidelines of the State of MN and the Sport Association.

Coming up, as Chelly mentioned last week, are the Movies in the Parking Lot series. The first movie on July 17th is Dolittle and it is being promoted by the Greater Downtown Council. Cars will be spaced to allow social distancing and attendees will be asked to remain in their vehicles. Concessions will be through Marcus Theater while parking and other arrangements will be through the Greater Downtown Council. Regrettably, this is not a DECC event, however, it will be good to have vehicles filling the parking lot and bring life to the DECC complex.

With more questions on upcoming events and opening our building, we are shifting lot of our focus to planning and reinventing the way we conduct business.

In closing this week, I am thrilled to announce the promotion of Mary Sullivan to the position of Director of Event Planning. Congratulations, Mary. A well-deserved promotion.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected.
Joe


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Chelly Townsend, Executive Director
Date: Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello out there!

Do you miss the noise and hectic pace of the DECC? I sure do. There’s a small crew here, we’re busy and it’s hectic, but it’s quiet because we’re all in different places around the building.

We have “Movies in the (DECC) Parking Lot” starting July 17.  See today’s Duluth News Tribune. A fun way to use the space and have people safe in their cars watching a drive-in movie and seeing other people.  It’s great to be outside and feeling the fresh air, taking a bike ride, gardening, running through the sprinkler, but BE CAREFUL. Be careful, don’t let down your guard, we’re in this for the long run.

Sue Ellen and Mary are working hard to move events around so that we have business when you return. Caty’s trying to keep us solvent, Joe is taking care of all the odds and ends, keeping us informed and making sure that everything is working.  The Engineers are keeping this quiet building from leaking too much.

I appreciated receiving  a photo and notes from employees  last week! It was a connection besides just thinking about you.

I hope you are doing particularly cool things during this time and archiving this for your grandchildren or future grandchildren.

I picture so many of you while I write this note and I hope you’re staying positive and not watching CNN. Turn the TV off and just take really good care of yourself and everyone close to you.

Happy Summer and Green Grass,
Chelly


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Chelly Townsend, Executive Director
Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello DECC Staff,

I hope that you’re all well during this strange, disorienting and disconcerting time. The DECC is quiet and there are decisions being made each day, including how and when we reopen. Sanitation, protection for guests and staff, seating arrangements and food service are among the concerns and will all be part of the new normal. As a group of employees who know their way around and are used to providing customer service, you’ll find your way. Please be prepared to be a part of the process when you return, as this will be new for everyone.

The sun is shining, the grass is green, and it brings us all hope that things are unfolding as they should, albeit Covid-19. Planting a garden feels good right now as it is growth to count on.  Enjoy the simple things in life and that you’re healthy and content.

The DECC is quiet, clean, and ready for you to return.  As I’ve said before, this place is here to be filled with people, as are stores and restaurants, and we’ll all feel better when we can move forward.

We have a Dog Show coming up and the planners are set on going forward. We’re working through the scenarios. Except for this event, and perhaps some at Bayfront, we know that it could be quite some time before we can welcome the size of crowds we serve.  Sue Ellen revised the seating capacities for all rooms. We would be at one-fourth to one-third capacity if we open before Covid-19 is resolved.

I miss the crowds, and you, and hope you’ll plan to return when it is safe to do so.

We miss you.
Be safe and well,
Chelly


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, May 13th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

As we are getting through this together, the COVID-19 marathon continues on. We want to give everyone an update for June. All scheduled events through the month of June have been canceled at this time.

Looking forward into July, we have the Dog Show scheduled in North and South Pioneer early in the month. The dog show promoters are surveying their attendees before making the decision to continue or cancel. We do have a very good chance of ice returning to the AMSOIL for a hockey tournament and Bulldog Hockey Camp towards the end of July.

We have been working on gathering information for our event re-start plan, with the understanding that the plan will need to be adaptable to the ever-changing challenges we all will face. Our goal is to provide a clean and safe environment for employees and guests. It will take all of us to make this happen, as we do not know what the new normal will be. As one of the directors told me yesterday, it’s like we are building the plane at the same time we are flying it. This is so true.

As I said last week, we are saying goodbye to a pillar of the DECC. Annette Eberhart, Director of Event Planning, is retiring this week. This has been her long-term decision, pre-dating COVID-19. She will be spending time with her family, especially enjoying her grandchildren. We owe Annette appreciation for all she has done and given us over the years. Annette has been the hub of the whole building. She has been the driving force that has made the DECC what it is today. Directly or indirectly, she has touched all of our lives. Her work ethic and moral compass is a goal for all to emulate. I am honored to have worked with her and call her my friend. Annette, we wish you the very best in retirement and thank you for all you’ve done.

Stay safe, stay well, and stay connected.
Joe


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

Once again I hope this finds you all safe and well.

Not a lot of updates since last week for the building. People are still working diligently to make sure what needs to be taken care of is happening.

This week I would like to give a shout out to our Finance Director, Caty, who continues to be a rock star. She is working tirelessly on the financial plans for the DECC, and we are so glad for all you’re doing for us.

Couple of things going on in the area:

  • Blue Bridge is going up and down. No boats yet, however, they will be back soon.
  • The Vista shop is planning on opening July 1st and they have been busy getting ready.
  • The Duluth Fire Department is going to be training with their new 100 ft aerial ladder truck in our parking lot on May 12th – 14th. I believe that’s the tallest truck ever in Duluth- way to go City of Duluth.

We continue to have customers parking in the DECC parking ramp. It seems traffic is getting heavier as the time goes on, which is a good thing.

We are keeping tabs on the updates from Governor Walz to know how soon we can get to the new normal.

Next week, we’ll be saying so long to a cherished friend.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected.

Joe


NOTE
To: DECC Staff 
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

First and foremost, I hope this finds you, your family and friends safe and well as we continue in these unprecedented times.

The DECC continues forward with a small, dedicated staff working on maintaining the building’s infrastructure and keeping it secure until we reopen.

We, likewise, have staff working diligently on current and future events, promoting the DECC so we will have a full building once again went we get on the recovering side of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s astonishing the amount of contacts our Sales and Event Planners have been in communication with in the last 30 days.  A special thank you to this team for maintaining great relationships with our clients for future events.

We, as well, have been working on developing policies for cleaning and disinfecting.

Personally, I want to thank each and every one for all they doing.

I, along with you, will enjoy getting back to the new normal eventually. In the meantime, we must all do our part.

Stay safe, stay well, and stay connected.
Joe


STATUS CONFIRMATION
To: All DECC staff currently not working
From: Chelly Townsend, Executive Director
Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Some of you may have already received your letters in the mail, others should be receiving them within the next few days. Your letter includes the information below and may also address additional information if it pertains to you, so please read your letters carefully. This information is intended to update you on the status of your employment during the upcoming weeks.

First, please know that we are thinking about you and that we hope to see you back at work soon. The current situation is difficult for all of us, but I know it must be especially hard for you. I am hoping that this short letter helps clarify a few things in order to reduce any confusion.

We have arranged this information in a question and answer format.
____________________________________

What is my employment status?
Currently, the DECC considers you to be on a temporary layoff, commonly referred to as a “furlough”. This means that you are currently an employee of the DECC in good standing, although you are inactive.

When will I come back to work?
At this point, we are unable to provide a definitive date for you to return to work. We have had several events cancel and we are uncertain when our events will resume. When there is enough work available, we will begin recalling employees.

How will you communicate with me?
The primary source of communication will be through the employee wellness website and through email. All employees (active and furloughed) are asked to submit their email address to ensure the information is sent to you in a timely manner. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify the DECC of any changes to contact information. Please visit http://www.deccwellness.org/email to submit or confirm your email address as soon as possible.

Will the Wellness Program continue during my furlough?
Updates and resources will be posted through the employee wellness website at deccwellness.org. However, we will be suspending challenges and the monthly wellness PTO forms, effective April 30th at 11:59pm. Any points already accumulated towards PTO through the program will remain unaffected and will be put in a “holding” status. The monthly newsletter and website updates will continue, but they will focus primarily on information and resources available to you during this time.
____________________________________

In closing, I want to extend my deep appreciation for your work. Your skills and contribution to the DECC are missed and we are hopeful about the future.

If you have any specific questions that have not been covered in this letter, I invite you to email Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations, at jtarnowski@decc.org.
You may also call Joe directly at 218-623-1237.

Sincerely,
Chelly Townsend


NOTE
To: DECC Staff
From: Chelly Townsend, Executive Director
Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Greetings from the DECC,

A month has passed since we began furloughs (temporary layoffs) for over 90% of building staff.  Between those who are here, we’re keeping up with daily work and going beyond our usual tasks.  We’ve been busy sorting out all the specifics of how this will go until you’re all back. The month flew by as we sorted out unemployment details and plans for going forward, using the absolute minimal amount of resources in every way.

The remaining Operations crew is keeping a close eye on the building, doing rounds, checking doors, reviewing surveillance cameras, turning thermostats down, looking for leaks or loud noises, and cleaning.  However, you did leave the building in good shape before you left.

Once it was clear we needed to quarantine, all of our spring business was gone within a few days. Much of the summer business is gone, too. Event Planners and Sales team are touching base with each group and are already rebooking many of them.

The buildings are in good shape, the grass is turning color, the trees are budding, but there aren’t guests or staff. The people make the DECC, the DECC.

If you’re doing something really cool, tell us. We can add comments to the next DECC update.

Take good care of yourselves,
Chelly


NOTE
To: DECC Staff
From: Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations
Date: Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
RE: Wednesday Update

Hello all,

The question everyone is asking: “When will this be over?”
The simple answer is: “We don’t know.”

Chelly is working hard to keep the DECC moving forward in these uncertain times. We have put measures in place that have allowed us to maintain the infrastructure and security of the building.

Most importantly, I hope you and your families are doing well. Of course, we are all human and are all struggling. It’s okay to feel lost during this time. Reach out to family and friends and keep socially active- from a distance.

The social distancing and sheltering seem to be flattening the curve. Our area seems to be better than a lot of areas and that is thanks to all of you.

Renae has put together a list of great resources for us to reach out for help. Here are those links again:
Financial Resources- deccwellness.org/covid19financial
Wellness Resources- deccwellness.org/covid19wellness

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Be safe. Wash your hands,

Joe Tarnowski
DECC Director of Operations
jtarnowski@decc.org
218-623-1237


MEMO
To: DECC Staff
From: Chelly Townsend, DECC Executive Director
Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
RE: Weekly Update

Things are certainly different around the DECC without all of you. It makes us appreciate even more the sounds of a busy building-  the bustling of guests, the clink of dishes, the hum of a full arena, and voices over the radios.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many updates to report at this time since nobody knows exactly what is happening with this virus. We do know that all April events have been cancelled or postponed, so the DECC will remain closed this month. We are continuing to monitor the changes and we have a very small crew keeping in close (virtual) contact with our clients to anticipate needs and reschedule events. Each week, we will continue to bring you the updates we can.

We hope you are all doing well and look forward to the DECC-life returning to normal.


NOTE                                                                                                    
To:  DECC Staff
From:  Chelly Townsend, DECC Executive Director
Date:  Wednesday, March 25th, 2020
RE:  Wednesday Update 

Hello DECC Staff,

As you know, this is an unprecedented time and something we’ll never forget. I hope you’re all taking good care, getting rest, and also stepping outside to remember the fresh air. I miss the busy, bustling of this operation and look forward to the end of this pandemic so we can get back to life outside of our yards.

Thank you for all the great service you provide for our guests. The DECC isn’t the DECC with out all of you.

Now use the time well and clean those closets!

Wishing you well,
Chelly

“In uncertain times, look for the helpers.”   – Fred Rogers


MEMO                                                                                                        
To:  DECC Staff
From:  Chelly Townsend, DECC Executive Director
Date:  Friday, March 20th, 2020
RE:  DECC Response on COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

During this coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), we have received correspondence from many of our clients regarding postponing or cancelling their event. Due to this reduction in events, we are unable to maintain our regular staffing schedules. Therefore, as hard as it is to make this decision, we need to move forward by taking action and announcing a temporary lay-off of all part-time employees, effective immediately. When events resume, we plan to do a recall to re-staff, as needed.

The Business Office is now closed. All paychecks that were not picked up today will be mailed on Monday, March 23rd. We will not be mailing direct deposit stubs. All subsequent paychecks will be mailed until further notice.

Until further notice, the building, including the Business Office, is closed. Only minimal staff will be retained to keep the building running and secure. We will remain closed until at least April 30th. There are many unknowns regarding this virus. Response plans are continuously changing all around us, so this date may change as we go.

We have set up a page on our employee website at http://www.deccwellness.org/covid19 to be the dedicated information portal. This is where we will post any updates throughout this time and we plan to post an update each Wednesday. There is also a list of resources on the site to make this transition a little less stressful for you. These resources include information on MN Unemployment, St. Louis County programs, counseling, financial tools, and more.

During this time, you are able to request your paid time off (PTO) if you choose to do so. To view your current balance, log in to Paycom (online or on the app), select ‘Time-Off Requests’ and click ‘Accruals’. To cash it in, select ‘Request Time Off’ and complete as usual (in 4-hour increments). Please review your contact information on Paycom as well and make sure it is up-to-date.  Questions can be directed to Payroll at 218-623-1228 or Human Resources at 218-623-1353.

It is truly heartbreaking to take this action, but it is crucial that we take these steps in order to be good stewards of our building and the DECC’s finances.

We understand that these measures can have a difficult impact to your life. Please utilize the resources provided on that website during this time to ease the stress.

I thank you tremendously for the work you all have done. We have the best staff and I am proud of the work we do. I cannot wait to welcome the return of exciting events in our building to support our community.

Take care and stay healthy.

Chelly Townsend
DECC Executive Director


MEMO
To: DECC Staff
From: Joe Tarnowski, DECC Director of Operations
Date: Friday, March 13, 2020

RE: COVID-19 Coronavirus

Our greatest concern is always the well-being of staff and those who visit our building. We would like to thank all of you for providing a safe and clean environment for employees and guests during the current COVID-19 outbreak. We are working diligently to continue to maintain these safe conditions.

Many of our March and April events have been in contact regarding concerns about COVID-19. We, along with our clients, have been monitoring the developments and recommendations set forth by the MN Department of Health and the CDC. Many of our clients have had to make the difficult decision to cancel events. We are working with our clients to reschedule their dates, however, this is not possible for many.

If you are uncomfortable working within the building, with the public, or if you are not feeling well let your supervisor know.

Due to the reduced number of events on our schedule, we cannot continue staffing at our normal rate.

We thank you for your loyalty and hope that this will resolve quickly so that we can resume normal operations very soon.


MEMO
DECC Communication Statement
RE: Coronavirus Information

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The safety of our guests and our staff is of utmost importance. We work closely with authorities on all of our safety measures and follow their direction on any necessary steps.

In addition to our normal daily cleaning practices, DECC staff has:

  • Increased cleaning protocols, including more frequent wiping and disinfecting of touch points (door handles, elevator buttons, handrails, restroom stall doors and sinks)
  • Supplied hand sanitizer stations throughout the DECC
  • Reinforced our standard employee health practices, including sending employees home and/or encouraging them to stay home if sick or demonstrating symptoms

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) that have been identified in the state of Minnesota.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to any destination in the United States.

The Minnesota Department of Health is leading the state and city preparedness and information dissemination.

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center is monitoring and assessing any new developments and will provide updates if or when new information becomes available.

We encourage visitors to follow the guidance of the CDC for everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

To ensure you are reading the most accurate and up-to-date news regarding the Coronavirus, follow the CDC’s updates on cdc.gov or their social channels (Facebook, TwitterInstagramYouTube).


To ensure you are reading the most accurate and up-to-date news regarding the Coronavirus, follow the CDC’s updates on cdc.gov or their social channels.

Any concerns can be directed to Joe Tarnowski, Director of Operations, at jtarnowski@decc.org