SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota has the number one hotspot in America, Sioux Falls has more cases per capita than Chicago and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the ground to help with the Smithfield Foods plant.
As all of this is happening, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) remains one of the few governors in the country without a broad stay-at-home order.
She has issued one limited stay-at-home order for those older than 65 or people with chronic medical issues to stay at home in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken asked Noem over the weekend to broaden that one or issue a new executive order requiring the two counties to stay at home.
Much of the focus is on Sioux Falls, because the two counties, where Sioux Falls sits, have the bulk of the COVID-19 cases are in the state. In fact, 95% of active cases are in Minnehaha or Lincoln counties.
Many can be tied to the Smithfield Foods plant, which is shut down indefinitely.
Without action from the governor, on Wednesday night, the Sioux Falls City Council will look at implementing a stay-at-home order, much like the rest of the country. The city council has passed the first reading of the order and will vote again at the second reading next week.
TenHaken said the new state models project a peak in mid-May for Sioux Falls. By implementing the stay-at-home order, they have a chance to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.
“We have the chance to cut our ICU bed needs in half,” TenHaken said if a stay-at-home order was enacted.
As the order is written, which could substantially change during the 7 p.m. meeting, this is what you will and won’t be able to do:
The order will begin on April 24, 2020 (due to current laws) until 11:59 p.m. on May 8 unless extended or stopped earlier.
“We have to be somewhat proactive because of the cycle of government,” TenHaken said. He emphasized that things are very fluid in a Wednesday afternoon briefing.
People cannot leave home for work, unless it is an essential job.
The federal government classified several industries as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.
A detailed list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers is at the lower in the story.
The City of Sioux Falls also defines several other specific groups of essential workers.
Non-essential activities are not allowed
What’s an essential activity?
Working in an essential job and getting there
Complying with law enforcement for legally-mandated government purposes
+ + Conducting essential errands (medication, groceries, gasoline and personal hygiene items) for themselves, family or vulnerable people or deliver those items
+ Engaging in activities, performing tasks or obtaining supplies essential to the health of themselves, family or pets
Visiting a healthcare or behavioral healthcare professional (officials are encouraging telehealth)
Getting supplies to work from home
For non-essential workforces, engaging minimum necessary activities inventory, security, payroll and benefits
Engaging in outdoor activities, including visiting public parks, as long as physical distancing happens
Going on a drive with other members of the family for leisure or to travel to and from an essential activity
Getting food or beverages through a drive-thru or carryout
Caring for or transporting another family member to another residence, including child visitations
Essential workers taking children to childcare
Leaving the house to stay at a safe alternative location if their home becomes unsafe, including victims of domestic violence
Going to and from school to get materials for distance learning or receiving meals
The order doesn’t require businesses to shut down.
For those who have tested positive for COVID-19, all members of that person’s family should are required to quarantine at home under the ordinance, unless for emergency care.
Homeless populations are exempt from the ordinance, but encouraged to practice social distancing.
What does the penalty look like?
“It’s a heavier handed approach, it’s a law. Do we intend to have our police officers writing tickets everywhere? No,” TenHaken said.
The law does make violations a misdemeanor. There’s also action the city can take against a business’s revenue license with the state.