Rapid City OKs closing sections of economy due to pandemic

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - In a 7 to 2 vote, the Rapid City Council Friday night made a tough decision ... ordering businesses to close in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe.

(MGN)

The city’s emergency closures goes into effect immediately; and continues through Wednesday, April 8. The ordinance will remain in effect for 60 days; then it will be automatically repealed unless readopted by the city council.

The Rapid City Council also voted to approve an amendment designed to make it easier and quicker for the city to add further restrictions.

• The controversial emergency ordinance closes a sector of the economy to on-site and on-sale patrons. This includes all Rapid City restaurants, food courts, coffee houses, bars, breweries, distilleries, wineries, clubs, cafes and other similar places of public accommodation offering food and beverages for on-site consumption, including any alcohol licensees with on-sale privileges.

• It also closes all recreational facilities, public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities and theaters, including movie theaters and music or entertainment venues.

• Also closed are all arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

People violating this ordinance could be found guilty of a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and 30 days in jail (per Section 1.12.010 of the Rapid City Municipal Code). Each day any violation of the ordinance continues is considered a separate violation.

What wouldn’t close?

• Places of public accommodation that offer food and beverages for off-site consumption, including grocery stores, markets, retail stores that offer food, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries.

• Room service in hotels.

• Health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and correctional facilities.

• Crisis shelters, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or other similar institutions.

• Airport concessionaires.

• Any emergency facilities necessary for the response to the current public health emergency or any other community emergency or disaster.

• Official meetings of the city, schools, county, or state.

• The operations and meetings of any state or federal courts.

Because people were keeping their "social distance," only nine community members were at the meeting. However, more than 100 comments were emailed to the council; voicing concern for people's health and the future of Rapid City's businesses.

Pauline Sumption, the city’s finance director, spent two and a half hours reading the emailed comments before Mayor Steve Allender said the council has heard the bulk of the comments and opted to move past the public comment portion of the hearing..