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Sioux Falls City Council Loosens Business Restrictions

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City of Sioux Falls
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The state’s largest city joins others loosening pandemic-related business restrictions. Beginning Friday, Sioux Falls will replace a 10-customer limit with new guidelines. 

The new ordinance allows theaters and other entertainment venues to admit 50% of their legal occupancy inside at a time. Smaller audiences are designed to allow space for social distancing. Bars and restaurants can open at full capacity, but with limitations. No more than six adults in each group, and each group must be six feet apart.

Council members debated whether to add a sunset clause to reconsider the new ordinance again in June. Councilor Marshall Selberg says businesses need some consistent guidelines.  

“I have a feeling that business owners are gonna be hesitant to put their feet back in the water and go full throat or full bore back at this thinking the rug could be pulled out beneath them at any time,” he says. 

Other council members say it could take some businesses weeks to adjust to the new guidelines, and a June deadline could be too soon to reconsider. 

Councilor Pat Starr says a deadline to reconsider the ordinance prevents a false sense of security.

“The message that we are sending to business: we’re one hot spot from sheltering in place. This goes back the same direction as it does to release and open things up.”

Mayor Paul TenHaken had to cast the tie-breaking vote against the sunset clause. The new ordinance passed 7 to 1, with Councilor Starr as the only ‘no’ vote.