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Gov. Noem signs executive order for employers, bars, restaurants, local governments
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Gov. Noem signs executive order for employers, bars, restaurants, local governments

Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order Monday afternoon detailing strategies for local governments and employers as well as bars and restaurants on how to limit the spread of the coronavirus while continuing operations.

The executive order issues guidance to all for-profit and non-profit employers to implement hygiene practices from the CDC and understand the severity and potential duration of COVID-19 as it may last for eight weeks or more.

Employers should also try new business strategies; encourage staff to telework, practice social distancing, consider regular health checks and limit non-essential travel and gatherings; offer shopping times or access periods for populations that are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“This is what I’m telling them to do,” Noem said. “Our local leaders have the ability to make decisions for their community as well.”

Enclosed retail businesses that promote public gatherings, are singled out in the executive order. These businesses include bars, restaurants, breweries, cafes, casinos, coffee shops, recreational and athletic facilities, health clubs and entertainment venues.

Those businesses should suspend or modify business practices that involve 10 or more people in an enclosed space where the CDC’s recommended six-foot separation is not possible; continue offering takeout, delivery, drive-through or other social distancing business models; and consider business arrangements to support critical infrastructure sectors.

When asked if hair salons and tattoo shops would be included in that definition, Noem said her executive order covers every business.

“(The executive order) gives direction to every business in the state of South Dakota,” she said. “What this executive order is doing is telling a business if you wish to still operate in the state of South Dakota, this is what you need to do.”

Per the executive order, local and municipal governments should implement CDC hygiene practices and public employee arrangements; restrict public gatherings of 10 people or more; review the business practices of enclosed retail businesses that promotes public gatherings.

Governments should also protect critical infrastructure sectors; and encourage entrepreneurial innovation in the private sector to provide employment opportunities to protect the continued operation of the free market.

“If community leaders want to go above and beyond that, that is a decision they can make together,” Noem said. “If a local government wants to go beyond that, that is a decision they will make.”

For South Dakotans, Noem’s order says they should review and practice CDC hygiene practices; know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19; understand who vulnerable populations are; implement social distancing; assist those who work in essential jobs, such as emergency personnel, medical professionals and law enforcement.

“This is what South Dakotans should do,” Noem said. “It is a direction on doing the right thing. I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page, and it is my job as governor in an emergency situation to set a baseline for what our communities can do.”

The executive order also guides healthcare organizations to implement or continue to follow CDC guidance and to postpone all non-essential elective surgeries to conserve and maximize supplies of personal protective equipment.

Case update

Noem said there is community spread of COVID-19 in Beadle, Hughes and Lyman counties.

Kim Malsam-Rysdon confirmed Monday afternoon that the case in Hughes County is an inmate at the women’s prison.

“Staff have appropriately isolated that individual and any other potential contacts,” Malsam-Rysdon said, noting that they are beginning an investigation on how the case spread there.

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