Councilors Erickson, Brekke, Starr and Selberg weigh in on the idea of a mask mandate

Coronavirus

{A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that KELOLAND News reached out to councilors on Monday; in fact, KELOLAND News reached out on Tuesday.}

Fargo, N.D. has a mask mandate in place after the mayor issued one with some exceptions. It begs the question: what do local leaders of Sioux Falls, a comparable city, have to say about a mask mandate? KELOLAND News reached out to every member of the Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday for this story.

Councilor Janet Brekke is in favor of talking about a mask mandate in Sioux Falls.

“What I would support is a discussion on it,” Brekke said. “I think somebody in the administration needs to bring it forward for a discussion, and I think there’s a strong chance I would support it.”

She wants action.

“We seriously need to do something, and if we’re not going to do a mask mandate, at a minimum we need to do an intensive advertising campaign,” Brekke said.

Councilor Pat Starr would support a mask mandate.

“I’m ready to support whatever it takes to support our health care workers, our teachers, our essential employees, and right now we’re not doing that. We need to take action which we haven’t done,” Starr said. “We’ve been scared as a community of what we can do to the mitigation efforts that we can do, and it’s time to lead now, both our council and our administration of our city.”

Councilor Marshall Selberg isn’t opposed to masks, but he’s not convinced about a mandate.

“I don’t know if I’m there yet,” Selberg said. “I would say that we’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing, again stressing to people, masks are obviously important. We’re not trying to make a political thing of it.”

“I think really the important component, Dan, is that just because we don’t have a specific mask mandate does not mean that people are not wearing their masks,” Christine Erickson said.

On the question of a mask mandate, Erickson says there are “too many variables.”

“I think that people are getting so wrapped up in the mandate component of it and focusing on that versus look around: people are wearing their masks,” Erickson said. “People are doing the right thing. Now, do we need to continue? Absolutely. I think that there’s really been some COVID fatigue, unfortunately.”

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken weighed in on Monday.

“There’s not a mask mandate on the table in the near future coming from my office,” TenHaken said.

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