Rapid City approves restrictions on public gathering places

Ordinance now in effect

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Common Council on Friday evening overwhelmingly approved an emergency ordinance intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.

By a vote of 7 to 2, council members agreed to require all restaurants, food courts, coffee houses, and bars that offer food and drinks for on-site consumption to close to on-site/on-sale patrons. The ordinance took effect immediately.

The businesses are permitted to continue operating in order to provide take-out, delivery, curbside service, and drive-thru service.

Other similar businesses impacted include breweries, distilleries, wineries, clubs, and cafes.

In addition, all recreational facilities, public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities, and theaters (including movie theaters and music or entertainment venues) are directed to close. That includes arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar facilities.

All hookah lounges, cigar bars, vaping lounges or similar businesses that allow on-site consumption are ordered to cease allowing on-site consumption, but are allowed to continue selling products for consumption off-site under the same conditions as bars and restaurants.

The ordinance is valid for 60 days. The restriction on operations currently extends only until April 8. Both the restriction and the end date for the ordinance could be extended by further council action.

The council members also approved by a vote of 6 to 3 the first reading of an ordinance that would allow any amendments to the emergency closure ordinance to be made by resolution. That would mean any changes to the ordinance would only require a single vote. The second reading of the ordinance will occur at the Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting on April 6.

In a memo to the City Council, City Attorney Joel Landeen said the city has the authority under two state statutes to act to promote public health.

“The City’s general ‘police power’ found in SDCL 9-29-1 allows cities to enact regulations that promote the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the community,” wrote Landeen. “SDCL 9-32-1 also empowers cities to do what may be necessary or expedient for the promotion of health or the suppression of disease.”

The ordinance does contain exemptions. Places that offer food and beverage for off-site consumption, including grocery stores, markets, retail stores that offer food, convenience stores, and food pantries.

Health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and correctional facilities are also exempted, as is hotel room service.

The complete list of exemptions is spelled out explicitly in the language of the ordinance.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News