Residents in Northeastern Minnesota are being asked to show their support for frontline workers by lighting up the exterior of their homes or businesses with a blue light bulb or string lights.

Public health staff from 11 county and tribal public health departments have partnered with Project Blue Light to honor frontline workers who have been working to keep the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the week of Jan. 24-31, public health staff from Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis County along with Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand Portage and Mille Lacs bands of Ojibwe are asking for the blue lights to be lit in support of frontline workers.

"Frontline workers not only include medical professionals, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers and border patrol agents, but also the invisible infrastructure that may not get the same attention," said Willi Kostiuk, emergency management coordinator in Koochiching County. “Some of these are grocery store employees; fast food and restaurant workers; food and supply distribution center workers; mail and package delivery workers; school administration and staff; sanitation, custodial, janitorial and cleaning service workers; railroad workers; and other professions critical to the life, health and safety of residents. They deserve our recognition and appreciation.”

People are also encouraged to display posters, signs and banners in support. Employers and schools can designate a day of that week for everyone to wear blue. Participants can share photos of how they're participating using the hashtag #thankyouwithblue on social media.

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