For mayors and governors who are unsure about their statutory authority to shut down bars and restaurants because of the few knuckleheads who still can’t figure out that going out in crowds is bad for everyone’s health and threatens our healthcare infrastructure, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender and the Rapid City Common Council offer the following model local ordinance to shut down nonessential businesses to prevent the spread of the coronavirus:
AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE TO ADDRESS A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS BY IMPLEMENTING CERTAIN MEASURES WHICH HAVE BEEN DEEMED NECESSARY TO SLOW THE COMMUNITY SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19).
WHEREAS, the City of Rapid City has the authority pursuant to SDCL 9-29-1 to pass ordinances for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, morals,and general welfare,of the community; and
WHEREAS, an outbreak of the disease COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, has been confirmed in more than 100 countries, including the United States; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a severe respiratory disease transmitted by person-to-person contact, or by contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus. In some cases, especially among older adults and persons with serious underlying health conditions, COVID-19 can result in serious illness requiring hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit, and death; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization(WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a public health emergency; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on the same day, Governor Kristi Noem, issued Executive Order 2020-04 which declared a state of emergency to exist in the State of South Dakota in response to the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Dakota; and
WHEREAS,the CDC and health experts have recommended social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, social distancing is a method of slowing down or stopping the spread of a contagious disease by reducing the probability of contact between infected persons and those not infected in order to minimize disease transmission; and
WHEREAS, in response to the need to implement social distancing, all schools in the state of South Dakota have been closed for at least two weeks; and
WHEREAS,on March 16, 2020, the White Houseissued guidance recommending that social gatherings of more than ten people be avoided and that people avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts; and
WHEREAS, the guidance issued by the White House further recommended that in states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where people congregate should be closed; and
WHEREAS, many states and communities across the country have already implemented the White House recommendations by ordering all bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where people congregate be closed until the public health emergency is over; and
WHEREAS, the failure to successfully implement social distancing will likely result in higher numbers of infected individuals and has the potential to overwhelm the capacity of the City’s health care providers; and
WHEREAS, it is important that control measures be taken to reduce or slow down the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect the health and safety of the City’s residents, especially for seniors and those with underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Mayor and City leadership have been in consultation with health professionals in the community and they are recommending that the actions recommended by federal authorities when there is evidence of community spread within a state be taken in Rapid City at this time; and
WHEREAS, while this ordinance cannot become legally effective for at least five (5) days due to the requirements of state law, the City strongly urges all businesses to start voluntarily complying with these regulations immediately.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Common Council of the City of Rapid City that:
- Effective at 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020, all 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, are closed to on-site/on-sale patrons. These businesses may continue to operate in order to provide take-out, delivery, curbside service, and drive-thru service. Any business continuing to operate in order to provide off-site service should implement procedures to ensure social distancing and operate in compliance with federal and state health guidance in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This closure will remain in effect through Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
- Effective at 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020, all recreational facilities, public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities and theaters, including movie theaters and music or entertainment venues are directed to close and cease operations. This closure will remain in effect through Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
- Effective at 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020, all hookah lounges, cigar bars, vaping lounges or other similar businesses that allow for on-site consumption are directed to cease allowing on-site consumption, but may continue to offer products for sale to consume off-site under the same conditions as bars and restaurants outlined in paragraph #1. This closure will remain in effect through Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
- Effective at 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020, all arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities are directed to close and cease operations. This closure will remain in effect through Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
- The prohibitions and closures in this order do not apply to the following businesses:
- 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, other than any portion of such business which offer on-site consumption which would be subject to the requirements of paragraph #1.
- 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.
- This ordinance shall remain in effect for a period of sixty (60) days, at which time it shall be automatically repealed unless specifically readopted for an additional period of time by the City Council. Any dates identified in the ordinance for closures to automatically end may be adjusted at any time within the sixty (60) day period covered by this ordinance by a resolution of the City Council.
- Any violation of this ordinance is subject to the general penalty provision in Section 1.12.010 of the Rapid City Municipal Code. Each day a violation of this ordinance is allowed to occur is considered a separate offense.
BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that, pursuant to SDCL 9-19-13, this ordinance is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, and welfare of the City and shall become effective immediately upon passage [Rapid City Ordinance 6412, approved 2020.03.22].
The council approved this ban on dining and drinking out, seeing movies, bowling, hookah-lounging, and pretty much every other date-night option (looks like it’s straight to the couch, kids!) on a 7–2 vote. Monument Health (that’s Regional Health’s new brand) gave council members some cover before the meeting with this statement of support:
New predictive models allow us to use information we have learned about this illness from other locations and apply it locally to help make data-driven decisions. Although the actual number of cases we can expect is difficult to predict, data shows that all communities need to take further action to slow the spread. Recent history also shows that mitigation efforts including community-wide home quarantine, shutdown of non-essential businesses, restricting travel, closing schools, canceling events, social distancing and proper hygiene can all contribute to a lower number of cases.
To the extent that these actions are possible within our community and the country, we support our leaders in the difficult decisions they face. We must do all that we can to protect our communities [CEO Paulette Davidson and Chief Medical Officer Brad Archer, letter to Rapid City Common Council, 2020.03.22].
Dr. Archer would likely advise Rapid City residents and their visitors that the proper response to these closures is not to race out to the bars for a couple good final benders before they take effect Friday. The sensible response is what y’all should’ve been doing in the first place: staying home.
Watch over two hours of public discussion of the recreational-business shutdown on the Rapid City Common Council’s YouTube channel: