Sioux Falls releases guidelines to replace business restrictions

May 21, 2020

The Sioux Falls City Council will be asked to vote on repealing coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses next week and approve a new set of guidelines for residents and businesses.

The ordinance repeal would ease restrictions on fitness centers, movie theaters and entertainment centers that now limit them to 50 percent occupancy and allow for larger parties at restaurants, which currently are limited to six adults at a table.

The current no-lingering ordinance was passed May 7.

The city has seen a downward trajectory in new COVID-19 cases over the past 14 days, said Jill Franken, director of the city’s Health Department.

“This is one of the major pieces of data that is really driving our decision-making right now,” she said.

The new resolution being put to a council vote is a set of guidelines for residents and businesses.

“The city of Sioux Falls encourages the people of Sioux Falls to be diligent in their behavior to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and to protect individuals who may be vulnerable to serious complications or death from COVID-19,” the resolution reads.

Here are the guidelines:

Section 1: Safe practices

Residents of Sioux Falls should continue to practice good respiratory hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of their elbow, wash hands often, disinfect surfaces frequently, avoid touching their face, and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Additionally, consistent with current CDC guidance, residents over the age of two who do not have trouble breathing should consider wearing cloth face masks when they are in public areas outside of their homes, such as, by way of example and not limitation, the grocery store or medical clinic. Such masks should not be used as a substitute for social distancing, which is vital for slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Section 2: Vulnerable populations

To help avoid contracting the virus that causes COVID-19, adults over the age of 65 and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, collectively referred to as “vulnerable individuals,” should be especially diligent and cautious in their actions and behaviors.

A serious underlying medical condition may include chronic lung disease, severe respiratory disorder, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart or cardiac condition, immunosuppression, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease or someone undergoing dialysis, or other condition identified by one’s medical provider.

Vulnerable individuals should also take the following actions to reduce their risk of getting the disease COVID-19 as recommended by the CDC:

  • Wash hands often.
  • Take precautions every day to keep space between others (stay a minimum of 6 feet away, which is about two arm lengths).
  • Keep away from people who are sick.
  • Maintain an adequate supply of essential items.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services.
  • Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential travel.
  • Call a health care professional with questions about underlying medical condition, COVID-19, or if you are sick.

Section 3: Health care

Residents of Sioux Falls should call ahead to health care providers if feeling sick.

  1. Residents should attend routine medical appointments, but should follow the guidance of their medical providers and always call ahead if feeling sick.
  2. Residents should continue to go to the pharmacy to pick up medications but should strive to use drive through or delivery services whenever possible.

Section 4: Mental and emotional health

Residents of Sioux Falls should be mindful of their mental health.

  1. Residents should engage in outdoor activity such as, by way of example and not limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking, provided that individuals comply with social distancing and all other measures as advised by the CDC.
  2. Residents should be good neighbors to those around them and help others if able, keeping in mind that it remains critical to use safe practices as recommended by the CDC.
  3. Residents should support local businesses to the greatest extent possible while abiding by CDC guidelines and this resolution.

Section 5: Businesses

Businesses should exercise good judgment and follow the recommendations of the CDC, state Department of Health and other health experts to protect the health and safety of their employees and patrons, such as, by way of example and not limitation, protective barriers at points of sale, cloth face coverings for employees and patrons, physical distancing and frequent cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

Licensed food establishments in particular may consider disposable or touchless menus, biodegradable serving ware and utensils, separating all parties by at least 6 feet and limiting self-service food and drink stations.

The city’s daily hospitalization cases are at 53, compared with 390 that had been shown by models for this time period.

“We were predicting by now we would be seeing a surge that would take us far higher than what we’ve been experiencing,” Franken said.

“All of that is really good news and does give us some sense of comfort.”

The city will continue to monitor the data up until the council is asked to vote, she added.

“Between now and then, we’ll continue to review, reassess and realign as needed,” she said, adding she does not anticipate significant changes, “but this virus is doing unexpected things.”

There will be an updated model forecasting the need for hospital beds as well as a resolution that will “provide some guidance” to the community about how standard mitigation efforts should continue to be practiced.

Standard mitigation approaches have to continue to be followed, including hand hygiene and physical distancing.

“We have to continue to be monitoring and continue to be nimble as a community to be able to change course as we need to,” Franken said.

Find COVID-19 business, event updates here

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Sioux Falls releases guidelines to replace business restrictions

Replacing restrictions with new guidelines for residents and businesses: Here’s what the Sioux Falls City Council will be asked to vote on next week.

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