Mayor outlines “heavier handed” stay-at-home order Sioux Falls city council will consider Wednesday night


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With a meat processing plant in Sioux Falls the top COVID-19 hotspot in the country, the city’s mayor is asking for additional measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Mayor Paul TenHaken says he doesn’t like that the number one COVID-19 hotspot is in his city and he’s trying to take action to fix that.

Given the number of cases in the area, Sioux Falls will likely peak with COVID-19 cases in mid-May, which is earlier than what will happen in the rest of the state, TenHaken says. It’s expected Sioux Falls would need 1,200 beds for COVID-19 patients.

TenHaken says the modeling changes day by day, even hour by hour at some points. Given the data he saw earlier on Wednesday, he believes it reinforces the need to take additional action now.

The city council will review a stay-at-home order at a meeting Wednesday night. It is only a first reading, so wouldn’t go into place right away.

TenHaken says this new stay-at-home order is heavier handed than what the city has already done as it includes some legal ramifications. It requires people to go to work for essential jobs and then go home. If also defines essential and non-essential.

TenHaken said no business is being forced to closed. He agreed there is some “gray areas” and says people will have to self enforce themselves.

This order would be in place for two weeks.

City is also bringing forward a resolution related to public transportation, which would reduce the hours Sioux Area Metro would run.

TenHaken said he continues to try and balance the fluid situation.

As for groups who are coming out against the stay-at-home order, TenHaken said everyone is an environment dealing with COVID-19. He said it is hard for him to tell businesses to tell employees not to come to work and to stay home. He said a lot of businesses have voluntarily followed.

He said the city feels confident with the state’s data and he hopes people prepare now for a mid-May peak.

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