Local business owners react to possible shutdown

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - During a Special City Council meeting on Sunday night, Mayor Steve Allender and the Rapid City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would require some businesses to close in order to fight the spread of COVID-19. That reading passed 7 to 2.

Downtown Rapid City, S.D.

During the public comment period, some local business owners voiced their concerns, saying they would never be able to bounce back from a city-wide shut down.

But other owners are okay with the possibility of closure.

"I think this will effect every business in Rapid City-- small businesses, large businesses," said Chance Whelchel, owner of Perfect Hanging Gallery. "This is something that we're all in together and I feel like the Mayor and the majority of the City Council members are being responsible by asking people to close down."

Currently, Perfect Hanging Gallery is open by appointment only because Whelchel says they want to keep everybody safe.

One restaurant owner said his cafe went to a delivery and carry-out-only method last week and says business has not slowed. He thinks the ordinance would impact those businesses that haven't made the shift

"I think in the restaurant industry those who are able to adapt to this new model of take-out and carry-out are still going to be fine," said Jason McCulley, a local restaurant owner. "The establishments that don't have the capacity or the capability to do that are going to see a slow down. It's things that are necessary to prevent the long-term effects of this disease."

"I think that the safety and the health of the public is the most important thing," said Whelchel. "I mean, those are the customers that bring money in through our door every single day, so, being responsible, and keeping them safe should be the number one priority."

The ordinance still needs a second reading before it can take effect. The second reading hearing will be Friday. If approved, the new rules would last until April 8, at which time the council can decide to extend it, if needed.