More cities enact social distance measures; many tribes restricting travel and issuing stay-at-home orders

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s patchwork of regulations around social distancing continued Tuesday, as more cities passed ordinances closing restaurants and bars, some Native American tribes are restricting travel on reservations and Gov. Kristi Noem put in targeted measures for those most vulnerable in two counties.

From big cities to as small towns with populations of 100 people, local leaders are taking action across South Dakota, as the state remains one of the last hold-outs for a statewide stay-at-home order and shutdown of bars and restaurants.

On Monday, Noem issued two executive orders. One changed the language in her previous executive order – which encouraged people to stay home, and for gatherings to be limited to less than 10 – from “should” to “shall,” but she has not explicitly explained how it would be enforced.

More than 160 elected leaders of South Dakota municipal and county government have called on the governor to do more, Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer reports.

At the same time, Noem issued a stay-at-home order for those older than 65 or with chronic medical conditions through much of April in the Sioux Falls area.

“We are at a critical juncture. So we’re asking these two groups in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties—those who are most vulnerable—to really take this seriously and stay home for three weeks. That will help us further flatten the curve,” Noem said.

Some local leaders are taking stronger actions at the city or county level as five counties report significant community spread and 14 have minimal to moderate community spread.

Native American reservations

Meanwhile, as South Dakota’s Native American tribes work to prepare for the pandemic with a limited health care system, many including Pine Ridge, Yankton Sioux, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Lower Brule and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation have issued some sort of stay-at-home order.

This Sept. 9, 2012 file photo shows the entrance to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Sioux tribe. Native American tribes across the U.S. for weeks have been shutting down casinos, hotels and tourist destinations, and shoring up services amid worries that the spread of the coronavirus quickly could overwhelm a chronically underfunded health care system and affect a population that suffers disproportionately from cancer, diabetes and some respiratory diseases. (AP Photo/Kristi Eaton, File)

A few tribes have even instituted road checks to limit non-resident travel on or through the reservations.

Around the region

In this April 6, 2020 photo, joggers exercise in Omaha, Neb. As most governors have imposed stay-at-home orders that public health officials say are essential to slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, leaders in a handful of states have steadfastly refused to take the action, arguing it’s unneeded and potentially harmful. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Neighboring states have also upgraded many of their restrictions. Nebraska issued its targeted public health order in Cherry County (which is in the KELOLAND viewing area), forcing restaurants and bars to close. Iowa and Wyoming also do not have formal stay-at-home orders.

Minnesota’s order to stay home is set to expire on Friday, but Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minn) is expected to extend it on Wednesday.

Nationally, the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force guidelines remain in effect through April 30.

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