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Aberdeen Council Picks Mostly Businesspeople, Not Workers, Shoppers, Teachers, to Discuss Economic Restart Plans and Impacts

Who’s on the committee the Aberdeen City Council formed Monday to talk about how to ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen the local economy?

Business owners, including David Novstrup of Allevity Entertainment and Thunder Road, Duane Sutton of The Millstone and Fallon Helm of Revive Day Spa…

…Aberdeen Development Corp. CEO Mike Bockorny, Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce President Gail Ochs, one local health care administrator, one local physician and either City Manager Lynn Lander or City Attorney Ron Wager [Scott Waltman, “Aberdeen City Council Votes Down Resolution That Would Loosen Virus Regs, Special Meeting Wednesday,” Aberdeen American News, 2020.04.28].

Not the workers the bosses on the committee will order to put their health at risk.

Not the customers who will have to decide whether those bosses are doing enough to keep us all safe.

Not the day care operators and teachers and principals and superintendents who will face more pressure (on top of that from the Misinformer-in-Chief) to reopen and figure out how to safely bring hundreds of children together every day.

Not the pastors who will face increased pressure to recongregate their unavoidably higher-risk populations of older worshippers.

Not the police or other security professionals or sanitation experts who will have to work the resumed large public gatherings.

Not the nursing home operators or caregivers who will have to decide if they can safely allow people who are taking more risks at more open businesses to come see Grandma on the weekend.

And only one of the doctors—and none of the nurses—who will have to provide care to all the additional coronavirus cases that will result from reopening businesses now.

A minority of Americans thought that putting a man with nothing but business built on his daddy’s money on his résumé in charge of national policymaking would be a good idea. They got someone who suggests injecting Lysol. Now the Aberdeen City Council seems to think that David Novstrup and other business owners hold some overriding and exclusive wisdom for addressing a public health crisis at the local level.

The Aberdeen City Council showed some sense Monday night in putting off Mayor Travis Schaunaman’s proposed local affirmation of Governor Kristi Noem’s reckless rollback of her flimsy recommendations for pandemic resistance measures. But their choice of committee members to make recommendations on public health measures shows a failure to grasp the nature of the pandemic as a global phenomenon that affects far more than business hours and bottom lines.


  1. mike from iowa 2020-04-29

    Bad news, bears…… WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% pace in the first quarter as the coronavirus spread, the steepest contraction since the last recession.

    drumpf’s one and only flirtation with 4% growth turns out to be negative. Obama and his failed economy hit 4% 4 times and 2 of those were above 5%.

  2. Scott 2020-04-29

    I still think it would be smart to hunker down for the month of May and get a good control on the virus. What I’m guessing is going to happen if restrictions are removed is that by mid June, we will see a big spike and then everything will be shut down all summer. Fairs and so forth will end up being cancelled. Summer tourism will be non existent.

    The businesses can probably survive another month of closure, but I doubt they can survive being shut down again for another 2-3 month period during the summer.

    For the businesses that reopen, I wonder what will happen to them if they get an employees testing positive? For some, like restaurant, that will probably be something that they will not be able to overcome.

    I think the Republicans know they are in major trouble and at this point have nothing to loose by trying to open things up. This open things up strategy is a gamble that the scared Republicans are willing to take.

  3. Debbo 2020-04-29

    It is so often the case with these kinds of boards, committees and task forces that they’re populated almost entirely by white men with more $ than most. Whoever assembles these groups doesn’t think about all the stakeholders, as they should. Chances for a successful outcome improve with a more diverse collection of decision makers.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-04-29

    Scott, I agree. Let’s be safe and take May off. We don’t have much to lose: the polls on people’s preference for continuing social distancing show that the economy will not come roaring back if we open everything up now. Even Kristi’s bogus plan days we have to wait for at least two weeks of consistently declining cases; let’s double down, make it four weeks, see the numbers go down really low, and thus build some confidence in consumers to come out and buy burgers.

    Tourism is hosed no matter what. People aren’t going to burn up money on trips; they’re going to pay off the debts they’ve incurred in this shutdown, then, if they manage it, save up for the next shutdown, and the next.

  5. Sherri 2020-05-01

    Everyone should seriously consider the issue of warmer weather, rain and mosquito eggs hatching. It’s proven animals are as susceptible to contracting COVID-19 as humans. We know the coronavirus was studied in bats since 2014, the virus extracted from bats and various experiments conducted in Wuhan to determine how the virus could attach itself to human DNA and how quickly it could become a global pandemic. Well now we all know. Those who test positive for the virus quickly and unknowingly expose others before any manifestation of virus is realized. West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes. The potential “2nd wave” of COVID-19 transmitted via mosquitoes MUST be considered by all. State and local governments should be developing a strategic plan NOW. What can the government, hospitals, all essential personnel and all people of South Dakota do to stop a 2nd wave of COVID-19? What can we do to prepare for any potential influx of COVID-19 patients and fatalities? What should Governor Kristi Noem and the COVID-19 task force be advising the people and children of SD do to prepare and take precautions BEFORE it becomes a reality and social distancing becomes avoiding mosquitoes? CONCERNS, IDEAS AND QUESTIONS ARE WELCOMED FROM ALL SOUTH DAKOTANS. PLEASE SEND THEM TO GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM. Is the right plan in place for opening businesses to the public? Or are we rushing it because it’s what Trump wants? Has the president prioritized the lives of Americans over the economy? Or has the president placed the responsibility of the public’s best interest in the hands of the people? These questions and more need to be addressed as quickly as possible.

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