Brookings City Council Looking at Requiring Masks, Ban Household Gatherings
Mandatory masks, an early shutdown of restaurants and bars, and a ban on larger groups at homes could be coming to the state's largest college town.
The Brookings City Council is holding an emergency meeting Wednesday, September 2 for the second reading of an ordinance that would institute much stricter regulations than were previously on the books.
The amendments added to the proposed ordinance would include requiring masks to be worn everyone five and older who don't have medical or mental reasons to not wear them. The requirement would apply to all city-sanctioned events and indoor public places were six feet of social distancing is not possible.
Bars, restaurants, and off-sale liquor sales will be required to stop selling between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The ordinance says they can stay open, but they can't sell alcoholic beverages during those hours.
Lastly is the ban on gatherings of more than ten people on any residential property, whether they are inside, outside, socially distanced, or not.
There are a lot of people in Brookings who are not happy about the proposed ordinance. There is a social media campaign to silently protest at the council meeting by simply wearing a red shirt to show opposition to the ordinance.
South Dakota is seeing an uptick in cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks as schools and universities have resumed classes. Currently, 27 people per 100,000 new cases per day is the third highest in the nation.
While there is opposition to the amended ordinance, there does not appear to be a penalty within the new 20-017 ordinance, or within the previous ordinance which is proposed to be extended. The first action the council took back in March, ordinance 20-005, specified that anything violated at that time could be subject to a $200 fine.