Faith leaders and the medical community discuss citywide mask mandate

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Faith leaders in Sioux Falls are voicing their support for a citywide mask mandate. The city council will take up the issue again tomorrow.

Clergy and a few members of the medical community say wearing masks will save lives and it is the right thing to do.

“We know that wearing masks is one of the effective ways to slow the spread of this deadly disease,” says Bishop Constanze Hagamier.

A group made up of Bishops, Reverends, Deacons and Doctors gathered at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. They believe a mask mandate boils down to one single principle. It will save lives.

“We know what it means to officiate the funerals and comfort many who are suffering from this disease in health and livelihood at an alarming rate in this state,” says Dr. Naomi Ludeman.

On Friday the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce came out against the proposed ordinance, not because they felt it would violate anyone’s rights or would not be effective. They simply had too many questions and concerns about enforcement and penalties.

“The opposition to ordinance revolves around the lack of clarity on how it would play out on consequences, penalties to businesses, penalties to individuals,” Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO, Jeff Griffin said.

But perhaps today’s most powerful plea for the mandate came from a Sioux Falls doctor working on the front lines. Dr. Krista Hoyme says the scientific evidence shows masks not only help stop the spread but decrease the amount of viral particles we are exposed to, which in turn, can limit the severity of the illness if we do get it.

“I talk to patients every single day all day long in my clinic, about their COVID, about their illness, about their ongoing symptoms, about their depression, their anxiety, their alcoholism, about their suicidal thoughts, all in correlation to this pandemic about this virus that every single one of us is untouched by, so I come to you today as a health care worker as a community member, as a lifelong citizen of the city of Sioux Falls, and I am asking you and I am begging you and I am telling you, we need a mask mandate,” Dr. Krista Hoyme said.

The group sent letters in support of the mask mandate to the Sioux Falls City Council. A second reading of the proposed ordinance is on the city council agenda for tomorrow night

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