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Spearfish City Council Passes Ordinance

SPEARFISH, SD (March 31, 2020) – At a special session Tuesday, via teleconference, the Spearfish City Council unanimously approved the second reading of an emergency ordinance implementing measures deemed necessary to slow the community spread of COVID-19. The ordinance states that it is “necessary to suppress disease and for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, and welfare of the City …”

The measures will be in effect from 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, through Wednesday, April 15, closing businesses of “public accommodation offering food and beverages for on-site consumption,” such as restaurants, bars, coffee houses, clubs, etc., to on-site/on-sale patrons. During this time, the businesses can continue to provide takeout, delivery, curbside, and drive-thru services, using social distancing practices and following all guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The ordinance will also close all recreation facilities, public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities, gyms, fitness centers, theaters, entertainment venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos, and other recreational/entertainment facilities during the same timeframe, starting 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, through Wednesday, April 15.

The ordinance does NOT apply to:

  • Places of public accommodation that offer food and beverages for off-site consumption, including grocery stores, markets, retail stores that offer food/beverages, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries (other than any portion of aforementioned businesses that offer on-site consumption, in which case, would be closed to on-site consumption)
  • Retail stores
  • 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
  • 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
  • Any business that does not fall within the descriptions listed in the ordinance that are required to close.

Many local businesses voluntarily limited access, reduced hours, or closed prior to the ordinance. All businesses that remain open are encouraged to follow all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the City asks residents to practice all recommended CDC guidelines everywhere, including their necessary trips to businesses, outside in public open spaces, at home, etc. These recommendations include:

  • Avoid groups of 10 or more people;
  • Practice social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet away from others;
  • Avoid non-essential travel;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.

The ordinance will remain in effect for 30 days, when it would automatically be repealed unless specifically readopted for a period of time by the city council.

“We know this is hugely impactful to our small business owners and local workforce,” Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke said, describing that this decision was one of the hardest that the elected officials have ever had to make. “COVID-19 is also hugely impactful around the globe, and we are tasked with protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our citizens. We must act now to slow the spread of COVID-19 and are listening to our health care professionals at the local, state, national, and international level who are urging leaders to act.”

The City launched a webpage,, to provide resources to citizens, and on that site are links to those seeking reemployment assistance, small business disaster loans, tax relief, etc. People in need of assistance or looking to assist those in need may also fill out forms to get connected to various resources, organizations, agencies, etc.

“The things that connect us in this community and in this state have prepared us to weather this storm, and even as we face hardships, remember that we are all in this together – even as we must social distance,” Mayor Boke said. “These are unprecedented times, and the City of Spearfish will continue to work with our partners throughout the community, state, and nation to take steps to stem the tide of this pandemic. We hope that everyone will join in the efforts and take precautions to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors from COVID-19.”

The emergency ordinance approved by the Spearfish City Council comes after Gov. Kristi Noem declared a state of emergency in South Dakota and signed an executive order on March 13 that includes a directive to businesses, instructing them how to operate during the pandemic. Many cities across the state, including nearby Rapid City and Deadwood, have taken additional measures to close and limit business operations to suppress the spread of COVID-19, a severe respiratory disease transmitted by person-to-person contact, or by contact with surfaces contaminated by the virus.

At the writing of this release, 30 states and the District of Columbia, as well as many cities, have shelter-in-place orders in effect, ordering residents to stay at home except for essential travel, such as to medical appointments or to the grocery store. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020, and since then, the country has seen confirmed COVID-19 cases spread, with more than 100 cases confirmed in South Dakota, including in Lawrence County.

All schools in the state have been closed until at least May 1, 2020, and City facilities, including City Hall, the Spearfish Recreation and Aquatics Center, Grace Balloch Memorial Library, Hudson Hall, etc., are also closed until further notice. Visit for more information.


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