Sioux Falls City Council Approves Mask Mandate
The City of Sioux Falls now has a mask mandate. The Sioux Falls City Council voted 6-2 in favor of the ordinance. Council members who voted for the emergency mandate include Councilors Curt Soehl, Rick Kiley, Janet Brekke, Alex Jensen, Marshall Selberg, and Pat Starr. Those against were Councilors Christine Erickson and Greg Neitzert.
This emergency mandate goes into effect immediately.
The Sioux Falls City Council officially reconsidered the original mask mandate on Tuesday night, November 17th. The proposal was originally introduced by Councilors Soehl and Kiley during previous council meetings and was rejected on November 10th. This reevaluation comes after COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the area and the support from Counselor Jensen who previously voted against the mandate.
In fact, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said earlier on Tuesday that he feels more confident about this decision after receiving a letter of support from the South Dakota State's Medical Association and hearing from one of the local health care partners who was requesting a mask mandate.
The difference from last week? There will be no penalties for violating this mask mandate.
Details of the new mask ordinance include face masks or coverings to be worn in indoor public places where 6-feet of social distancing could not be achieved or maintained. This measure also excludes individuals under the age of five, restaurant and bar patrons, and those consuming food and beverages. Residents who are also currently receiving medical or dental care which prevents them from wearing face masks are not expected to do so under this ordinance. This includes anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability.
Practicing social distancing is not necessary among family and friends or while attending sporting activities, therefore masks are also not required. Public Safety Workers who are actively on duty also did not have to wear a mask.
This ordinance's sunset date will be January 1st, 2021.
The South Dakota Department of Health is reporting that as of Tuesday, November 17th, there are a total of 970 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. 582 are currently hospitalized. 18,624 active cases are in the state as well as 644 deaths. Overall, South Dakota has a total of 63,491 confirmed cases. Minnehaha County alone has 17,452 confirmed cases. Lincoln County has 4,601 confirmed cases.
More details on this Sioux Falls City Council meeting can be found at Dakota News Now.