Ordinance easing COVID-19 restrictions on Sioux Falls businesses passes 7-1

Local News

Many businesses in Sioux Falls will soon be able to operate under eased restrictions.

The city council passed an ordinance back in March capping patrons at 10 for many businesses.

Now foodservice establishments, including restaurants and bars, can welcome more customers as long as there is a six-foot distance between parties.

Recreational facilities, including gyms and entertainment venues, can have half of their posted occupancy.

For gyms and entertainment venues, they can have half of their posted occupancy.

The Sioux Falls City Council passed the ordinance 7-1.

Councilor Christine Erickson is part of the majority who gave it the thumbs up.

“We have the capacity in our hospital systems, so now’s the time to make sure that we have that ability to jump start the economy a little bit, and also your mental health,” Sioux Falls City Council Member Christine Erickson said.

The lone ‘no’ vote came from Councilor Pat Starr, who posed multiple questions for Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken, including a hypothetical one about the safety of employees.

“I go out for dinner with my family on Saturday night; I test positive. You trace back that I went to have dinner at a local restaurant. Is my server going to be quarantined for 14 days or recommended that they be recommended for 14 days?” Sioux Falls City Council Member Pat Starr said.

“Possibly,” Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken said.

“The employees are going to go rather quickly in this case then, aren’t they?” Starr said.

“That is why mitigation efforts have to be strongly encouraged. That is why we have to take the proper actions that we do,” Franken said.

There’s no clear timeline on how long the ordinance will be in effect, which is something that was addressed at one point during the meeting.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Theresa Stehly did propose an amendment to put a sunset date of June 5 on the amendment.

“From either side of this issue, I’m hearing people say, ‘We want some kind of–something more definitive about how this will be reviewed,'” Stehly said.

“Sunsetting this in a one month period, I don’t think it instills a lot of confidence in our business owners that it’s going to be much beyond that point. There’s no certainty there. What I think there is certainty about is the fact that we will continue to monitor and assess the situation,” Sioux Falls City Council Member Rick Kiley said.

That amendment failed with the mayor casting the tie-breaking no vote.

The ordinance goes into effect Friday.

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