SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — South Dakota health officials are reminding wrestling fans from Minnesota to mask-up and social distance during their youth wrestling tournament underway in Sioux Falls.
The tournament moved here from Rochester to avoid Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions.
KELOLAND News found many people attending the Northland Youth Wrestling Association championships not wearing masks and sitting side-by-side. Medical experts say now is not the time for people to let their guard down with coronavirus cases on the rise and new strains to deal with.
“The virus doesn’t know borders, it doesn’t know Minnesota from Iowa from South Dakota and so it’s more the types of behavior that you’re having rather than where you are going at any given time,” Dr. David Basel, Vice-President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group, said.
Masks are not required at the wrestling tournament that’s brought 64 teams from Minnesota to the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center. The PREMIER Center complex doesn’t require masks since the city’s mandate expired, but masks and social distancing are encouraged at all events.
“Promoting social considerations, social responsibility to patrons, so we still do that. Our staff here and any subcontractors will still be wearing face coverings throughout,” Denny Sanford PREMIER Center General Manager Mike Krewson said on March 11th.
More than 2,000 wrestlers are competing in the tournament. The sheer size of the event can raise health concerns.
“If you’re going to attend any type of event, we strongly encourage masking at all times and as much social distancing as you can at that event,” Basel said.
Health experts say such precautions are necessary so fans, families and athletes won’t be grappling with illness in the days ahead.
The youth wrestling tournament runs through Saturday. Crowds return to the PREMIER Center next weekend with the Professional Bull Riders competition.