I’m listening to Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen on South Dakota Public Radio this noon trying to strike a balance between his appointed mission to make everyone want to come to South Dakota and his responsibility as a responsible public official and neighbor to tell everyone to stay home.
Deadwood’s casinos are needing some coaxing to strike that balance. The Deadwood Mountain Grand “suspended operations until further notice” last Friday, but Deadwood Mayor David Ruth, Jr., is having to exhort other casinos to stop providing breeding grounds for more coronavirus:
In a letter to casino operators, Mayor David Ruth Jr. said:
“While I recognize these decisions are difficult and impact many employees and their families, in addition to the strain they place upon you as business owners, just this morning the United States Surgeon General warned ‘the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week’ and said that ‘people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough.’ The time to take things more seriously is now.”
The mayor also wants the casinos to stop allowing people to dine in restaurants, switching to curbside, takeout and delivery services. Businesses should also stop on-sale alcohol sales [“Deadwood Mayor Pleads for Casinos to Close,” KOTA-TV, 2020.03.23].
Come on, people: health first, profits and games later.