SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls Board of Health passed a regulation restricting gatherings to 10 or less in dining and similar establishments that will now be considered by the Sioux Falls City Council Thursday at 4 p.m.
Public health director Jill Franken said the ordinance is needed to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Sioux Falls.
The ordinance formally bans having 10 or more patrons in an bar, coffee shop, restaurant or similar business. The ordinance covers enclosed businesses but also any outdoor seating areas the business may have, Franken said.
“This includes the entire property essentially,” Franken said.
It also bans 10 or more patrons in a dining area operated by a grocery store or similar businesses, which was included in an amendment passed by the health board.
That section of the ordinance is enforceable by law. Violations will be a Class 2 misdemeanor with a possible penalty of $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. The licenses of violators could also be revoked.
“There’s some teeth to this,” TenHaken said at the board of health meeting.
Council member Pat Starr said at the public health meeting that the ordinance doesn’t go far enough. He expects the council to consider stronger measures at its regular meeting on March 30.
Starr referred to President Donald Trump’s announced plan today to propose easing social distance guidelines soon. Trump’s proposal would be the wrong direction to take based on what he knows what is happening in the area, Starr said.
The ordinance would be in effect until April 8. The two-week timeframe will allow the city to adjust it as needed, TenHaken said.
Franken said the ordinance aligns with the executive order issued earlier this week by Gov. Kristi Noem, guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and prior guidelines issued by President Donald Trump.
Sioux Falls is in Minnehaha County and Lincoln County. Minnehaha has 16 cases of COVID-19 and has substantial community spread, Franken said. Lincoln County has two COVID-19 cases and has mild to moderate community spread, Franken said.
Other portions of the ordinance include recommendations for private businesses to which the fine is not applicable as to providing social distancing, telework opportunities and other options.