PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A temporary memorial of empty chairs, reflecting more than 800 lives lost so far to COVID-19 in South Dakota, is planned near the state Capitol for two hours Thanksgiving morning.

The event Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon CT, along Church Street west of Hilger’s Gulch, is sponsored by the South Dakota Synod of the ELCA and The Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota. Pastor Matthew Spoden from Resurrection Lutheran Church in Pierre will lead a prayer at the site.

Organizers plan to livestream the event through social media pages of Stop The Spread SD. They are discouraging foot traffic but people may drive vehicles past to participate.

Donations will be applied to the cost of the memorial, and any remaining funds will be passed on to organizations focused on COVID-19, with allocations reflected through @StoptheSpreadSD social media pages.

The event is intended to raise awareness about rising transmission rates of COVID-19, healthy infection control precautions, and preventing health care worker burn-out.