SF Council headed toward adding two more weeks of 10 or more ban; Other measures may be ahead

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two more weeks of the city of Sioux Falls’ ordinance passed last week that allows the city to enforce a ban on gatherings of 10 or more in private businesses such as bars or restaurants are likely. But more regulations could be coming.

The council approved the first reading to extend the ordinance by two more weeks to April 22. The second reading of the ordinance to extend must be done according to law, city attorney Stacy Kooistra said. Kooistra said the State Legislature during the March 30 session did not pass legislation which would have allowed cities to waive second readings of ordinances related to COVID-19 response.

Jill Franken, the Director of Sioux Falls Public Health, said it’s possible the council will be asked stronger measures such as shelter in place and curfews.

However, Mayor Paul TenHaken and Kooistra said no discussion about those options could happen in today’s meeting because by law, the meeting’s agenda was specifically for an amendment ordinance on the gathering ban. Also, TehHaken said, the local DOH would have more information available about shelter in place, curfew and other options before April 7.

Council member Theresa Stehly, Janet Brekke, and Pat Starr had questioned why such measures couldn’t be discussed because they wanted to be prepared should they need to consider them in the coming days or at next week’s meeting.

TenHaken assured the council it would receive information as it becomes available. A council meeting could be schedule to discuss those options, or they could be addressed next week.

Franken said in a presentation at the start of the meeting that DOH and city officials are reviewing data from cities with demographics and other features similar to Sioux Falls. Some of those cities are Des Moines, Iowa, and Tallahassee, Florida, Franken said.

Tallahassee’s confirmed COVID-19 cases are fewer than Sioux Falls although its first case was confirmed at about the same time as Sioux Falls, Franken said.

Tallahasse has issued a shelter in place mandate as well a curfew, she said. Sioux Falls may want to consider such measures, Franken said.

Franken also said the DOH is working with local health care officials including Avera and Sanford to better determine when the Sioux Falls metropolitan area and the state will have its first surge in COVID-19 cases. There could likely be a second surge, and even a third, Franken said.

The ordinance that will likely be extended limits gatherings to 10 people or less at certain businesses. The ban doesn’t include staff.

Under the proposal, if a business does not adhere to the ordinance, it could face a class two misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine, 30 days in jail and loss of license.

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