SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people throughout KELOLAND. Monday at 7 p.m. central time, South Dakota’s congressional delegation took part in a Town Hall Special Report on KELOLAND TV.
Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, along with Representative Dusty Johnson answered your questions. We asked these lawmakers what they’re doing in Washington to bring help to South Dakotans, in our hour-long special, and they gave us answers.
The first question from our special report asked South Dakota’s congressional delegation if and when they wear masks. Senator John Thune (R) said they wear masks on the Senate floor and in their offices. He also wears them in airports and on airplanes. Senator Mike Rounds (R) said he wears a mask out in public and in stores. Representative Dusty Johnson (R) said he follows the CDC’s guidelines and wears his mask regularly as well.
The next question was how the congressmen are practicing social distancing. Senator Rounds says he’s separated from his grandkids and has less of his staff in the office.
When it comes to information about the COVID-19 pandemic, you also asked where the delegation is getting their info. Representative Johnson says he gathers information from multiple resources. He says to trust people that use data to make decisions. Thune also agreed that data should be the driving force behind the information you gather. He also said you will have to gather your own conclusions. Senator Rounds said he listens to health professionals and the CDC. He said opposing concerns can make it difficult to draw conclusions, but it’s important to listen to the professionals.
Another question asked was regarding businesses that are closed.
Rounds believes the Paycheck Protection Program should continue on. He said getting help differs from when business owners applied for the first PPP. Johnson agreed with Rounds. Thune said 11,000 to 12,000 businesses in South Dakota received funding from the PPP. He said the next round will be given more consideration about where the needs are.
Thune also said businesses, hospitals and schools will need protection from frivolous lawsuits as the economy reopens. Rounds said a huge rash of lawsuits are already being filed.
Ray asked about beef prices.
Thune says they worked on financial help for ranchers in the CARE package. All congressmen say they have asked multiple organizations to investigate why packers are making more money and ranchers are struggling during this pandemic.
Vicki asked the delegation how people can feed their families and pay their rent after losing their job due to the pandemic? Rounds said there are larger companies who have laid people off, and unemployment would be the best option for those people.
Some people haven’t received their stimulus package. A viewer asked the delegation what can be done. Johnson said the IRS has had some hiccups and delays, and if you haven’t received your check in the next few days, call his office.
Thune also said until we get a vaccine we will have to do massive amounts of testing to see who has COVID-19 and who doesn’t.
Lastly, the delegation said that South Dakotans are all in this together.
To stay up to date on the current state of COVID-19 in South Dakota, go to our Coronavirus page.
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