Rapid City Council to consider city-wide mask mandate

UPDATE (11/18/2020 @ 2:20 p.m. MST): The proposed city-wide mask mandate ordinance has been made available online for the public to view. Ordinance No. 6453 would require the proper wearing of a mask or face covering indoors in public places, including bars, stores, theaters, etc. with certain stipulations. The Common Council will meet in a special session Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. for the first reading. The public is encouraged to submit comments online here as seating in chambers is limited.

UPDATE (11/17/2020 @ 4:10 p.m. MST): The City of Rapid City has confirmed that the Common Council will meet in a special session Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. to consider first reading of the city-wide mask mandate brought forth by Mayor Steve Allender and Council President Laura Armstrong. The meeting is open to the public, however, social distancing is in place and seating is limited in Council Chambers. The public is encouraged to submit comments online here.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender announced at a press conference Tuesday that the Common Council will consider a city-wide mask mandate as early as Thursday.

This comes after a surge in COVID-19 cases caused the Rapid City Area School District to transition to Level 3, fully-remote learning for all students.

Allender, flanked by Dr. Shankar Kurra of Monument Health and Dr. Lori Simon of RCAS, discussed additional data and the steps local government will consider to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in our area.

“Our community spread is substantial,” said Allender. “In fact yesterday, Forbes Magazine came out with their ‘Top 10 Riskiest States in the U.S. to Visit,’ and South Dakota was at the top of that list, due to the high infection rate and high testing positivity rate.”

The capacity of the Monument Hospital system is a top concern for local officials, who worry that a sudden surge could easily overwhelm our current availability.

“We are trying to protect the hospital capacity…for all folks needing hospitalization. What we want to avoid is the worst case scenario where hospital care has to be rationed, and someone has to decide who lives or dies,” said Allender. “I hope, given the numbers that we’re seeing today, I hope no one is laughing today. There are only so many staff, and there is a high demand on staff right now.”

Dr. Shankar also stressed the importance of the “5 D’s” when it comes to transmission risk:

  • Dining with alcohol involved, as it lowers inhibitions
  • Dining in groups greater than 4 with those outside of ones immediate household
  • Dialogue and conversations in close proximity without wearing masks
  • Dormitories and shared restrooms
  • Dressing/break rooms where people relax

Mayor Allender called on Gov. Kristi Noem’s policy of “personal responsibility” and states that it is time for every individual to be personally responsible in helping stop the spread of COVID-19.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News