SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The spike in COVID-19 cases in South Dakota is rekindling the debate over whether customers should be required to wear masks inside businesses. The Brookings City Council will take a final vote on a mask mandate next week. But businesses in other KELOLAND communities are taking action on their own.
The Sioux Falls Food Co-op off of 18th and Minnesota put a mask mandate in effect just a couple of weeks ago. The general manager says now is a good time to require masks with school underway.
And he’s urging other businesses to do the same.
Customers can’t shop the aisles of the Sioux Falls Food Co-op without first putting on a mask.
“We’re the number-one hotspot in the country again right now, unfortunately, so doing nothing is not an option,” Sioux Falls Food Co-op General Manager Patrick Sayler said.
The surge in South Dakota coronavirus cases starting last month with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has triggered the store’s mask requirement.
“We’re a small business, we’re vulnerable, we’re a small staff, if God forbid, any of us were to get sick, we’d have a hard time keeping the store open,” Sayler said.
The co-op keeps a supply of masks handy for any customers who show up without one.
“I’m okay with each business kind of making their own decisions on the mask mandate, what they prefer to do. So I think each business has that right to mandate that,” Sean Smith of Rock Valley, Iowa said.
But some other customers say masks only create more problems than they prevent.
“I have two children, I think it’s devastating, you know, they can’t see people’s facial expressions, they don’t want to be around people, it’s socially not a healthy thing for our society,” Susan Luschas of Brandon, SD said.
But Sayler says most co-op customers support the mask mandate. He says cities should be more pro-active when it comes to getting people to wear masks in public.
“It’s a pretty minor inconvenience for the health and safety of everyone in our community,” Sayler said.
Sioux Falls Food Co-op workers were all required to wear masks before making them mandatory for customers, as well.
Sayler is also urging customers to may not feel comfortable shopping in the store to take advantage of its free delivery service and curbside pickup that’s available for free through October first. Click here