Council to consider approving citywide mask ordinance
The Mitchell City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday to consider approving the second reading of an ordinance that will mandate citywide mask-wearing in indoor buildings.
The measure means all individuals inside every indoor building within the city limits would be required to wear a mask or face covering if they are unable to be at least 6 feet apart, along with several other exceptions. The meeting -- which was moved to the Corn Palace -- will allow residents to voice their opinions on the ordinance once again.
While the emergency ordinance will be voted on during Monday’s special meeting, Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson issued an executive order on Tuesday that implemented a citywide mask mandate, which went into effect immediately. Rather than waiting for Monday’s meeting, Council members Susan Tjarks and John Doescher urged Everson to issue the executive order prior to the upcoming meeting. Everson’s executive order that’s been put in place mimics the council’s ordinance.
Under the council’s mask ordinance, there are some exceptions that include athletes engaged in a recreation activity such as basketball, hockey and swimming, who would not be required to wear a mask or face covering during activity. In addition, Johnson said the ordinance also exempts children under the age 5, individuals who have a medical condition or disability preventing them from safely wearing a mask and individuals who are eating food or drinking beverages.
As of Sunday, the state Department of Health reported Davison County had a total of 744 active COVID-19 cases.
Violators could face a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 30 days in jail. However, Council member Jeff Smith is proposing to amend the enforcement of the mask mandate to mimic Sioux Falls’ mask mandate. Sioux Falls and Huron both eliminated the penalty of jail time and fines in its mask mandate.
As for the timeline of Mitchell’s mask mandate should it be approved, the ordinance will automatically be rescinded after 60 days. However, the council could extend the ordinance, which would require another vote to do so.