UPDATE: Sioux Falls considering recommendations to close businesses due to COVID-19

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls Board of Health will consider recommendations to close some businesses in Sioux Falls to protect residents from COVID-19, depending on the scope of an anticipated executive order from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.

That news was shared by Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken during a Monday morning briefing. 

Governor Kristi Noem has said it is up to local officials to make decisions on what to do as far as closing businesses.  She announced Monday morning she plans to sign an executive order which could provide direction in this area. The city is waiting to see the scope of Noem’s expected executive order.  

The Sioux Falls Health Board will meet at 2 p.m. on Tuesday to consider steps to take to protect people from coronavirus.  Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken says the intent of regulation would be to limit gathering of people to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

With community spread in Beadle County, TenHaken says drastic times call for these actions to protect people.

TenHaken said he’d like to see a more unified approach to COVID-19 decisions. He said measures in Sioux Falls don’t impact surrounding communities like Tea, Harrisburg and Brandon.

“My concern is that as we get a patchwork of communities doing things, it will be hard to enforce,” Mayor TenHaken said. “It really loses a lot of the teeth without a universal approach.”

TenHaken says city leaders are meeting with Avera Health and Sanford Health leadership daily to make decisions for the city. 

He acknowledges that closing businesses will create another set of public health challenges as people will not be working.  

Franken says in looking at the positive cases in South Dakota, 13 of the 28 positive cases are in people under 50 years of age.  She stresses it is everyone’s responsibility to take measures to limit contact with others to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

In addition, the city is asking to postpone upcoming elections, which had been scheduled for April 14.  This is to help protect poll workers and voters during the height of the coronavirus concerns. City clerk Tom Grecco is recommending pushing the city election back until June, with the statewide primary.

Early Monday morning. Governor Kristi Noem announced seven new positive COVID-19 cases and added health models project 30-percent of South Dakotan’s will become infected with COVID-19.

Police briefing will follow the city briefing.

On Saturday morning, TenHaken showed his distaste for photos of full parking lots at Sioux Falls bars. He encouraged restaurant businesses to allow carry out orders and not allow for larger closed space gatherings. 

On Sunday, the city announced a special meeting of the City’s Board of Health to “consider measures to close certain nonessential establishments should data support further mitigation efforts.” 

The Board of Health will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Carnegie Town Hall. If the Board of Health enacts regulations, the City Council would meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday. 

KELOLAND digital reporter Michael Geheren looked at the issue of closing restaurants and bars on Sunday. 

All last week, TenHaken highlighted the importance of social distancing. The city announced it closed many city-owned businesses and people are encouraged to call ahead for any city business. 

The One Sioux Falls fund, which can help people and small businesses in Minnehaha, Lincoln, Turner and McCook counties, has surpassed $1 million. You can submit an application for assistance at the Helpline Center’s website.

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