On Tuesday, March 24, the Mobridge City Council took the extraordinary step of passing an ordinance to shut down all businesses, gyms and venues where more than 10 people can gather.
Mobridge City Councilman Curt Reichert, Mayor Gene Cox and City Administrator Heather Beck attended the meeting along with acting city attorney Rick Cain, Mobridge Regional Hospital & Clinics CEO John Ayoub and Mobridge Police Chief Shawn Madison. That group was present in the chamber, all other council members were present by phone.
Before the reading of the ordinance applying to the Mobridge businesses, Ayoub addressed the council and the community.
He told those attending that the community and country will get through this crisis no matter how long it takes to get back to normal. He said one of the best things about living in a rural community is that we are resilient and we care for each other.
“Together we will get through this,” he said. “We have the great ability to get through these things.”
Ayoub talked about the procedures at the hospital and asked that the members of the community be patient and respectful to the staff of the hospital.
He ended his statement by asking members of the community to be kind to one another and not act like those that have been featured on Internet videos. He asked they not push the older lady aside and grab the last package of toilet paper.
He asked that instead we take care of the elders in out community and help them through the situation.
“Be kind to each other and show kindness and compassion for one another,” Ayoub said.
This follows several declarations on the national and state level to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community and state of South Dakota.
On March 13, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19 followed by Governor Kristi Noem, issuing an executive order which declared a state of emergency to exist in the State of South Dakota
As cases of the disease increase across the state and cases of community transmission are reasonably suspected to exist in several counties in the state, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health experts have recommended social distancing to slow the spread.
In order for this to occur, the Mobridge City Council passed City Ordinance 982, which is deemed necessary to protect the health of people of the community and stem the spread of the virus the ordinance declared as follows: Effective at 12 a.m. on April 2, 2020, all restaurants, food courts, food service locations, coffee houses, bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, clubs, cafes and other similar places of public accommodation offering food and beverages for on-site consumption, including any alcohol licensees with on-sale privileges, are closed to on-site/on-sale patrons. These businesses may continue to operate in order to provide take-out, delivery, curbside service, drive-thru service. Any business continuing to operate in order to provide off-site service should implement procedures to ensure social distancing and operate in compliance with federal and state health guidance in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The ordinance also includes all churches, recreational facilities, public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities and theaters, including movie theaters and music or entertainment venues, all pool halls, video game arcades, video lottery casino operations, indoor recreational or entertainment venues.
All other retail and service businesses in which more than ten (10) people are gathered or permitted to gather in the facility are also directed to close and cease operations on Thursday, April 2.
The ordinance does not apply to the following businesses:
a. Places of public accommodation that offer food and beverages for off-site consumption, including grocery stores, food markets, retail and service businesses in which less than ten (10) people are gathered or permitted to gather in the facility, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries, other than any portion of such business which would be subject to the requirements of paragraph #1.
b. Room service in hotels.
c. Health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and correctional facilities.
d. Crisis shelters, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or other similar institutions
e. Municipal Airport
f. Any emergency facilities necessary for the response to the current public health emergency or any other community emergency or disaster.
The ordinance states that any violation is subject to the general penalty provisions applicable to all other violations of the Mobridge City Ordinances
On Thursday, March 19, the council met to discuss measures that had been taken to stem the spread of the virus in the city. With the schools closed, more children are out and about in the community. City officials closed A.H. Brown Library and Scherr-Howe Event Center to avoid large gatherings of the people in those buildings.
City Hall is also closed to foot traffic and the fire department is working to employ special measures when responding to calls.
Cox also asked the residents refrain from flushing any cleaning products such as sanitizing wipes as it can clog the city’s wastewater system and cause major issues.