COVID precautions vary at the State of the State address

PIERRE, S.D. — State lawmakers attending Governor Noem’s State of the State address yesterday were not required to wear a mask, and many did not.

While wearing a mask is required at the capitol for non-lawmakers, the House and Senate operate under different rules. Senators are to wear one on the floor and gallery, after several members, including Rapid City’s Helene Duhamel, contracted the virus in December. The House only encourages wearing a mask — saying it’s is a personal choice.

“Regarding masks, whether it’s mandated or a personal decision, either way, it’s a matter of respect and it’s a matter of honoring other people and protecting the other people,” said state senator Michael Diedrich. “And the science is very clear that a mask does help prevent the spreading of the droplets that contain the coronavirus. And so, that part is not a political issue, that’s a part about being a preventative medicine and public health safety.”

During the legislative session, the House will vote to decide whether to increase precautions and require masks in chambers.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News