Thursday, October 11, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History: October 11

October 11, 1918 – All schools, theaters, churches, lodge meetings, dances and in fact, all public gatherings indoors are prohibited in Duluth until the epidemic of Spanish influenza in the city has subsided, was the order issued by the city health department this morning, with the order taking effect immediately.

The only exception to the order will be made in the case of Red Cross workers who are charged in emergency work in combating the spread of the epidemic by making masks to be used in caring for patients. Special ventilation of the rooms will be insisted upon and all visitors will be excluded.

City commissioners also passed an emergency ordinance giving the police powers to enforce the order at once. The police department notified the stations at West Duluth, the steel plant and New Duluth and ordered officers to enforce the order immediately. Officers will be stationed at necessary points to see that the order is obeyed and, if necessary, drastic steps will be taken against violators. The order does not cover outdoor sports.

Every precaution will be taken by the health department and officials to prevent any further spread of the epidemic. Theaters were notified this noon of the order and immediately closed their doors. Pastors of the different city churches on receipt of the order canceled the services for Sunday. Street car officials have agreed to the suggestion that all car windows be open except in the case of rain. If necessary, fires in the cars will be started earlier.

There is no cause for alarm as the epidemic has not reached serious proportions so far and every precaution is being taken to control its spread, according to Commissioner of Public Safety R. Silberstein, this morning.

“We have the situation well in hand and there is no cause for alarm,” Silberstein said.

“All the cases in Duluth originated from outside points and spreading the disease. Every case is being watched carefully and the same quarantine measures are being taken as are used in diphtheria, scarlet fever and such contagious diseases. The public should not be alarmed as we are only doing what other cities are doing, except possibly, we are taking the situation in hand a little earlier than the others than the others have and before the situation becomes serious.”

Superior, Wis., also ordered that all places of public assemblage be closed this afternoon for an indefinite period as a precautionary measure against Spanish influenza, although there are but four or five cases in that city.

The Duluth Herald; “Public Gatherings in Duluth Are Forbidden. All Schools, Theaters and Churches Are to Be Closed. Decision Believed Necessary to Prevent Spread of Spanish Influenza. Action Taken After Discussion By Red Cross and City Officials. Red Cross Workers May Meet and Outdoor Sports Are Permitted.”; Oct. 11, 1918; pp. 1 & 7.

The Duluth Herald; “Superior Places Ordered Closed”; Oct. 11, 1918; p. 7.


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