SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The mayors of the biggest cities in South Dakota have attached their names to a letter calling for action to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The letter from the South Dakota Municipal League signed by sixteen South Dakota mayors calls for people to wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible. It also says in bold letters “We need you to do your part.”

“I think it’s important for everyone to realize we can make a difference. Each of us has the opportunity to make a difference by the choices that we make,” Watertown Mayor Sarah Caron said. “And we can choose to wear masks, do the social distance, avoid the large gatherings, and follow all of the guidelines.”

“Our messaging is that we obviously know we’re experiencing surging in our COVID cases in this state,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “We know that we all have a role to play in helping to minimize that surge, and so we want to reinforce the messages and the actions that we’re taking collectively as one group to help do that.”

“Mayor TenHaken actually brought the idea forward, and after reading it and seeing the letter, I agreed to add my name to the list because we are seeing a spike in numbers,” Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson said.

“To me from the beginning of this thing, I’ve always rested on the idea that health is a matter of personal responsibility, and I think that this letter does a good job of reaffirming that principle,” Aberdeen Mayor Travis Schaunaman said.

The letter also asks people to avoid gathering in large groups and to practice good hygiene. It also reminds everyone, if you feel sick, stay home.

“Our health is our responsibility, do the best that you can to be good partners with us in this thing,” Schaunaman said.

“We all have come to quickly realize that it’s not a Sioux Falls issue, and this isn’t about a Brookings mask mandate or Rapid City cases,” TenHaken said. “This is a South Dakota-wide issue that each of our communities are experiencing, so the goal of that letter was to show unity in our response.” 

“It seemed really natural that we join in with a letter with all the first-class cities in South Dakota,” Everson said.

“We can help save lives,” Caron said.

You can read the full letter below: