Rapid City Passes COVID-19 Ordinances

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) -The Rapid City Council has passed emergency measures ordering businesses to close in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19.

The 7-2 vote on final reading at a special meeting Friday night was identical to the vote on first reading Monday night.

The emergency closures went into effect immediately and runs through Wednesday, April 8, but the ordinance runs for 60 days before it sunsets. The city council also adopted an amendment making it easier and quicker for Rapid City to add further restrictions.

Because Rapid City residents are keeping their “social distance,” only 9 members of the public attended the meeting, but more than 100 comments were emailed to the council and finance director Pauline Sumption spent 2-1/2 hours reading them to the council.

The emails voiced concern for people’s health and the future of Rapid City’s businesses. Mayor Steve Allender didn’t allow any testimony, saying the written comments adequately conveyed the feelings of city residents.

The controversial emergency ordinance closes on-site and on-sale at all restaurants, food courts, coffee houses, bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, clubs, cafes and similar spots offering food and beverages for on-site consumption, including any alcohol licensees with on-sale privileges.

It also closes all recreational facilities – including public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities, theaters, and music or entertainment venues – as well as all arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, and trampoline parks

Violations could bring a fine of $500 and 30 days in jail with each day of any violation considered a separate violation.

Among the places remaining open are grocery stores, markets, retail stores that offer food, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries.

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