BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — On Wednesday night, the Brookings City Council held a special meeting to talk about possibly cracking down on efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
While there are already some restrictions in place, council members considered also asking bars and restaurants to stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Additionally, they also are considering limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
People packed the council chambers tonight as well as filled rooms outside the chambers. The meeting started at 7 p.m. and was still going on as of 10 p.m.
Many people were seen wearing red to show that they did not support the proposed changes. Very few people were seen wearing masks. People spoke on both sides including business owners and the president of South Dakota State University.
“On behalf of SDSU we support extending it and would like you to consider the amendments that you are considering tonight, we believe it is in the best interest of our ability to keep those 12,000 students on campus and keep those employees employed on our campus,” SDSU president, Barry Dunn said.
“The bars, we are spending thousands of dollars on sanitizing, cleaning, staff, operating at 50%, I don’t see how you could conclude that being at a house party, even if it was 10 or less, could be safer than being downtown,” owner of Sully’s, Brennan Sullivan said.
“For the last several months they’ve been operating at 50% capacity, they’re spending more and more costs on cleaning operating costs, disinfects, all the while they are barely breaking even or losing money in the hopes that there is some light at the end of the tunnel,” Reed Mahlke said.
“What I would like to know from everybody here that doesn’t believe in masks, and doesn’t think we don’t need to be doing anything is what is the number of deaths that is acceptable to you, because that is what we are looking at, there will be deaths and I want to know what the acceptable number is,” Rebecca said.
The City Council voted down a social gathering amendment and alcohol sales limitations. The second hearing and a vote on a mask mandate will happen on Sept. 8.
The current city restrictions were extended for another 60 days. Those restrictions have bars, restaurants, gyms and salons operating at 50% capacity, social distancing is encouraged and employees are required to wear masks.