Mayor Declares State of Emergency

Today, Mayor Paul TenHaken declared a state of emergency in the City of Sioux Falls in response to the COVID-19 presence in the community. A declaration allows the mayor to convene an emergency meeting of the City Council.

The Mayor is requesting a City Council meeting at 7 p.m. tonight to pass ordinances to restrict the movement of people within the City of Sioux Falls. The emergency declaration also provide the City contractual flexibility and the ability to target resources quickly.

As of Thursday, March 12, 2020, there were three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnehaha County.

“Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, I am proposing aggressive steps to protect our vulnerable populations in Sioux Falls,” said TenHaken. “Every single person in Sioux Falls has a role to play in slowing the spread of this virus, which is our top priority. I want the people of Sioux Falls to be confident in our response efforts. The City, State, Avera, Sanford Health and other community partners are united in our commitment to slow the spread and help those impacted.”

The administration will propose to the City Council that effective March 13, 2020, the City is limiting all large gatherings in City-owned facilities to 250 people. This includes the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Convention Center, Arena, Washington Pavilion and Orpheum Theater. The Keloland Box Office at the Premier Center will remain open during normal business hours. Initially, the administration would like to limit these gatherings for the next 14 days.

The Midco® Aquatic Center will be closed until March 27, 2020. The Parks and Recreation Department and Siouxland Libraries have canceled events for the next 14 days. Community centers will be closed except for after-school activities until 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Washington Pavilion will close the Kirby Science Center and Visual Arts Museum until March 27, 2020. Leonardo’s Café, the box office, small group gatherings and preschool activities at the Washington Pavilion will continue as scheduled. Refer to washingtonpavilion.org for specific information.

In addition, the City strongly encourages private organizations including faith-based groups to follow the City’s lead and limit the size of gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. “Our goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Jill Franken, City Health Director. “Additional steps and closures will be evaluated as the situation evolves.”

Because human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, the Health Department would like to remind people to take the same measures that health care providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.

  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

For questions, please call the South Dakota COVID-19 Information line at 1-800-997-2880.

For more information on COVID-19 in South Dakota, please visit covid.sd.gov.

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