City to discuss new emergency COVID-19 ordinance Friday

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand and Jonathan Ellis, Sioux Falls Argus Leader) – The city’s emergency COVID-19 ordinance will expire in about two weeks, but the Aberdeen City Council is expected to discuss a new replacement ordinance on Friday.

The Aberdeen City Council, school board and Brown County Commission will jointly meet at 9 a.m. in the community room of the Brown County Courthouse to canvass the results of Tuesday’s election. Once the canvass is done, the city council also plans to discuss the first reading of emergency COVID-19 ordinance No. 4.

The council added discussion of a new emergency COVID-19 ordinance to Friday’s agenda at Monday’s city council meeting. That’s when local businessman Nate Kessler appeared before the council asking about the city’s plan to get back to a new normal. Kessler oversees the operation of hotels, restaurants, convention centers and casinos for Lamont Companies.

“We have no idea when we are going to get back to the occupancy we are used to,” Kessler told the council.

With the number of new cases decreasing, Kessler asked for an update from the council. Kessler said Maverick’s is able to space out customers, but one of the concerns he has is the guidelines that presently outline who can sit together at a table and group size requirements.

Mayor Travis Schaunaman noted that Sioux Falls has dropped its emergency ordinances and expressed hope that Aberdeen wouldn’t be far behind.

Council discussion didn’t go that direction. The council approved a resolution that keeps the current emergency ordinance in effect, a decision that’s required at each of the city council meetings. Schaunaman voted against the resolution along with Councilmen Josh Rife and Alan Johnson.

Councilman David Bunsness expressed his support of the city’s emergency ordinance and asked for input from the CEOs at both Avera St. Luke’s and Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center before making any changes.

City Attorney Ron Wager also outlined a timeline for passage of a new emergency ordinance. The city’s current emergency ordinance is set to expire June 14. If the council elects to continue with emergency ordinance provisions, Wager said, a new ordinance will need to be considered. Those ordinance options will be discussed at Friday’s meeting. If approved, a special meeting will be needed next week to consider final adoption of the ordinance.

City Councilman Clint Rux asked if one version of the ordinance require businesses to follow CDC guidelines. Wager said one version will also look similar to the city’s current emergency ordinance and a third will be similar to the first ordinance adopted by the city.

State adds 95 cases

Minnehaha County recorded 15 new positive coronavirus cases out of a statewide total of 95 new cases, the South Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday.

Beadle County accounted for a third of the state’s new cases, with 32. Pennington County recorded 16 new cases.

Brown County added five new cases for a total of 286, of which 62 are active. There have been 13 people ever hospitalized, one death and 1,596 negative tests, per the state. Of the total positive cases, 223 have recovered.

There were no new reported deaths in the state. The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 was 87 statewide, two fewer than Tuesday.

The 95 new cases were out of 1,816 test results, for a daily positive rate of 5.23 percent.

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