Sioux Falls response to COVID-19

The Sioux Falls city council has continued to meet most Tuesdays at Carnegie Town Hall.

City of Sioux Falls

The Sioux Falls city council has continued to meet most Tuesdays at Carnegie Town Hall.

Jazlyn White, News Editor

The nearly exponential growth in cases of COVID-19 in Sioux Falls has made the city a hot spot in South Dakota. While at the state level Governor Kristi Noem has done little to enact official guidelines for social distancing, Mayor Paul TenHaken has been the face of the Republican effort to encourage citizens to stay home when possible.

On April 6, 2020 Mayor TenHaken released a “safer at home” proclamation which outlined recommendations for Sioux Falls residents to decrease the spread of COVID-19 which included: attending religious services remotely, using drive-through pharmacy services when possible and limiting the number of household members on trips to grocery stores, among other suggestions. TenHaken also urged citizens to continue supporting local business during this time and to continue responsible outdoor activity. The proclamation cannot be enforced by law and is instead simply a list of recommendations.

On April 15, 2020 TenHaken presented a proposed stay at home ordinance during a city council meeting, which called for residents to only leave their home in order to work critical jobs and to complete “essential activities” such as grocery shopping and picking up take out food. It also included the allowance of recreational activities such as tennis and golf, provided social distancing procedures were followed. Unlike the previous proclamation, this order could be enforced by city law if passed by the city council. The ordinance met backlash as many expressed their concern towards the proposal not being sustainable for the local economy for an extended period. The proposal was moved to the following week for a second reading.

On April 21, 2020 the stay at home order was brought back to the city council for further consideration where, after receiving concerns from people worried the order would be too extreme a precaution, the city council decided to not go through with passing the proposal. The city council still plans to move forward with other preventative actions such as extending a current no-lingering order.