SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The mayor of Sioux Falls is following Governor Kristi Noem’s lead in reopening. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken is opening parks, athletic fields and says Sioux Falls and Harrisburg school districts will be reopening their playground facilities.
Restrooms and water fountains will remain closed. Tenhaken says COVID-19 can be easily transferred among park equipment.
He is also holding a council meeting tomorrow at 2 p.m.. They will be looking at their no loitering ordinance, which restricts patrons to ten. TenHaken says that ordinance will change. He continued by saying these facilities can either expand to 10 patrons or 50% occupancy. In addition to that, he asks to continue to practice social distancing in these facilities.
Therefore, the mayor says your seating area must be in six feet chunks.
One restaurant has been preparing for the reopening of businesses and has already taken the steps to make sure their seating areas are six feet apart.
May 8, is the earliest this ordinance could go into place. Tenhaken says this ordinance will be indefinitely. If you do not abide by the ordinance it is a class two misdemeanor.
TenHaken went on to say Sioux Falls has reduced the hospital beds it will need at its peak. However, the Sioux Falls Mayor said we are still in the early stages of COVID-19.
“It’s certainly not the time to declare victory in Sioux Falls against COVID,” TenHaken said.
TenHaken shared data showcasing that COVID-19 in Sioux Falls is leveling off. He said they are seeing hospitalizations for those 60 and over, but most COVID-19 cases in Sioux Falls are being seen in people 60 and younger.
We’re not stopping COVID-19 we are slowing it down.Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken
The Sioux Falls Mayor says there is a high level of personal accountability and personal risk tolerance that each and every member of our community needs to self-asses.
“You don’t have to go there. You have a personal decision and a personal responsibility. Decide what is best for your family and for your businesses,” TenHaken said.
Jeff Eckhoff is with the Sioux Falls SOAR program. He says with the new ordinances coming fourth he believes the program will get a lot of inquiries. He also stated that businesses have been preparing to reopen and if they have a question call the helpline center and they will get a message to the SOAR program.
Janet Kittams is the President and CEO of the Helpline Center. She says the One Sioux Falls fund was created a little over 6 weeks ago, and the program helps to pay rent for people affected by COVID-19. She says committee members have worked tirelessly to approve applications. Over 2,200 families have remained housed because of this fund.
With the reopening of facilities, Kittams says you can call the helpline center at 211 for advice or inquiries about the SOAR program.