Spearfish businesses closed under previous measures may reopen April 30, following certain directives
SPEARFISH, SD (April 23, 2020) – Businesses previously closed under an emergency ordinance may be able to reopen Thursday, April 30, as long as they follow specific directives.
“Residents need to be aware that we are not ‘back to normal,’ nor is the COVID-19 pandemic over. We are, however, cautiously optimistic that with our informed business community and residents continuing to practice social distancing and follow all of the mandates in the Governor’s executive order, Spearfish can see small changes as we continue to assess conditions,” Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke said. “The City has been working with various members of the local business and healthcare communities as we begin to slowly resume certain business operations again.”
The City Council today unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that mirrors South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s executive order. The ordinance gives the City the power to enforce its directives, should it be approved at a second reading April 29.
Any “enclosed retail business that promotes public gatherings” must suspend or modify business practices that involve 10 or more people in an enclosed space where physical separation of at least 6 feet is not possible.
That means, for businesses such as bars and restaurants, that occupied tables, booths, or other areas intended to accommodate on-site consumption must be a minimum of 6 feet apart. The business must not allow 10 or more patrons at any table, booth, or other area intended to accommodate on-site consumption, nor congregate in groups of 10 or more.
For businesses such as gyms and entertainment facilities: Only 9 or fewer people may be in the business at a time, unless the size of the business site is large enough to allow for 6 feet of distance between groups of no more than 9 patrons and the business enforces distancing requirements.
In addition, each of the affected businesses must establish a maximum occupancy rate based on 1 person per 36 square feet of public area in the business and post that maximum occupancy at the business entrance. Employees who will be in public area in the business will be counted toward the maximum occupancy.
Businesses should continue to consider offering models that do not involve public gatherings, such as takeout, delivery, drive-thru, curbside services, social distancing, or other innovative practices that do not involve public gatherings in an enclosed space.
Businesses that do not comply with the mandates laid out in the ordinance could face a citation, which will be enforced in the same manner as any other ordinance violation.
No matter what is decided at the second reading of the ordinance, the City Council acknowledged that there could be changes to allowances for businesses as the state continues testing, should the number of positive cases increase and further community spread occur in the area. The City continues to get the latest information from health care professionals at the local, state, national, and international level.
“We cannot become complacent about COVID-19,” Mayor Boke said, pointing out how rapidly the virus can spread, based on data from other areas of the United States. “Everyone needs to keep practicing all of the recommended guidelines to keep themselves, their families, and their neighbors safe. We want our businesses to be successful, and we need to be responsible.”
The measures in the ordinance, should it be approved, would be in effect April 30 through July 31, unless the Governor’s executive order expires at an earlier date or the City Council chooses to repeal or readopt the ordinance.
Thomas Worsley, president of Spearfish Hospital and Hills Market at Monument Health, spoke during the meeting, letting the City Council and residents of Spearfish know that regardless of what happens with modeling for the area in terms of COVID-19 and its peak, Monument Health is ready.
“We are prepared to care for the community … regardless of the situation,” he said, adding, “We will continue to be prepared if there’s a surge (of confirmed cases) in the future.”
Kory Menken, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation executive director, also spoke during the meeting, encouraging business owners to take advantage of Monument Health’s free best practices inspection to ensure they are taking all necessary steps to protect customers through social distancing, sanitization, etc.
“We hope Spearfish can serve as a leader in the reopening process,” Menken said.
Prior to the executive order, many local businesses voluntarily limited access, reduced hours, or closed, and they may continue to do so. Patrons are encouraged to call ahead to find out the status of a business before visiting.
Under the executive order, South Dakota residents are expected to practice all recommended CDC guidelines everywhere, including their necessary trips to businesses, outside in public open spaces, at home, etc. These recommendations include:
- Avoid groups of 10 or more people;
- Practice social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet away from others;
- Avoid non-essential travel;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others in public.
The City has launched the webpage, https://www.cityofspearfish.com/723/COVID-19, to provide resources to citizens, and on that site are links to those seeking reemployment assistance, small business disaster loans, tax relief, etc. People in need of assistance or looking to assist those in need may also fill out forms to get connected to various resources, organizations, agencies, etc.
The City’s public facilities including City Hall, the Spearfish Recreation and Aquatics Center, Grace Balloch Memorial Library, Hudson Hall, etc., are closed to the public until further notice. Services remain available by calling the appropriate departments.
The library is offering pick-up services to patrons who place items on hold via their online account or by calling the library at 642-1330. Wifi is available outside of the building, and limited essential computer services are available by appointment.
City parks and rec paths remain open, with reminders to all users that the current executive order restricts public gatherings of more than 10 people. Users of the parks and rec path should practice social distancing when outside enjoying the public spaces.
Visit cityofspearfish.com for more information.