SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem held a news conference for the first time since announcing her Back to Normal plan on Tuesday. KELOLAND’s Travis Fossing has the latest from state leaders concerning the fight against COVID-19.
Governor Noem says she spoke with President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the stimulus package sent to South Dakota, and her ability to use those dollars to meet state budget needs.
“Appreciated their time and their effort making sure South Dakotans were treated fairly and that we had language that worked to help meet our needs throughout the spread of this virus,” Governor Kristi Noem said.
Noem also spoke with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue about pork producers and getting plants back online. She also had a conference call with Smithfield Foods.
“We’re hopeful that soon, in a matter of days, that we can start to see some activities back in that plant that adequately protects the employees, but also makes sure that our nation’s food supply is working and flowing smoothly as well,” Noem said.
As some South Dakotans prepare to go back to work, the state unveiled its unemployment numbers for the week ending April 25, with nearly 5,400 new claims filed.
“We have seen a six-week total of 32,295 initial claims, and just to give you a point of reference, a typical six-week time span for this time of year would usually be about 1,140 new claims,” Secretary of Labor and Regulation Marcia Hultman said.
Hultman also reminds everyone if you were temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 you must return to work once your employer recalls you, or you will lose unemployment benefits.
South Dakota also started paying Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims on Wednesday, which is two weeks ahead of schedule. And Governor Noem signed an executive order Thursday, providing flexibility when titling or registering vehicles, mobile homes, and semi-trailers.