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Sioux Falls Health Board to Consider Business Closure Mandates

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken recommends that the city Board of Health shut down some businesses to curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

The Board of Health’s actions may depend on an executive order expected from Governor Noem later today.

Mayor TenHaken maintains anything less than statewide action to restrict business activity has limited effects.

“So for instance if we do something in the 80 square miles of Sioux Falls, I don’t govern Tea, I don’t govern Harrisburg, Hartford, Renner, Brandon.”

Over the weekend, the governor said enforcing business closures is up to local authorities. By Monday, she announced the upcoming executive order that will have guidance for businesses, healthcare providers, and communities.

Barring a state mandate, TenHaken says data supports his recommendation to the city Board of Health.

“As of today, with confirmed community spread now in Beadle County, we’re at that point. I will be making a recommendation from the city to that Board of Health to recommend that they take that step.”

The city’s health board is scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon. Sioux Falls Public Health Director Jill Franken says the board’s action is dependent on the governor’s executive order. She says they may consider mandatory closures of nightclubs and bars that don't serve food, video lottery casinos, movie theaters, and many other establishments. 

The possible closings on the table may create other issues. Mayor TenHaken says they include food insecurity, unemployment, and housing. 

“So in some way there’s a little bit of a swap that we’re gonna have to deal with with public health crises. Either way, we’re gonna have challenges.”

The mayor says an update on business resources is scheduled for Tuesday as well.