Rapid City Mayor says no mask mandate but urges businesses, individuals to wear a mask


RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says the community remains “sharply divided” on the issue of mask use but urges individuals and businesses to wear a mask. He says as an alternative to a mask mandate, the city will roll out public service announcements encouraging people to wear one.

“The point of the mask is to protect others, not you,” said Allender in a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “You rely on others wearing a mask to keep you safe as well.”

Last week, the City of Rapid City received a signed petition with over 300 signatures requesting a mask mandate. 

Allender says the city would not be able to enforce a mask mandate if passed, citing the lack of resources. He also references a mask mandate recently passed in Brookings, saying the feedback has been “relatively positive” but other people tell him mask compliance is unchanged.

As an alternative to a mandate, Allender says the city is working with a marketing firm to launch a new campaign stressing the importance of wearing face coverings. He also urges people to limit group size and control settings where groups meet. “Everyone should wear a mask when not possible to maintain a social distance,” said Allender. He also says it’s his opinion as mayor that all stores should consider implementing a mask policy.

Turning from the mask issue, Allender says an issue everywhere is mental health during the pandemic.

“We’re suffering a little bit from exhaustion,” said Allender. “Conflicts are more common and we have criminal justice data to back this up.”

He suggests limiting media intake and focusing on local media as a source for information, especially on social media. Also, Allender says to focus on the positives: exercise, eat healthy, stay hydrated, and “read a book.”

“If we’re going to get through this together, we have to share a goal together,” said Allender. “The concept of community is more important than ever.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News