Council to consider first reading of city facility mask ordinance

Shown here is the signage urging those who enter the James Valley Community Center to wear a mask inside the city of Mitchell's facility. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

The Mitchell City Council will consider approving the first reading of an ordinance during the 6 p.m. meeting on Monday that would require masks or face coverings to be worn inside city facilities.

Roughly a month ago, the council began discussing a mask policy that would affect all city-owned facilities. However, the discussion never materialized into an ordinance request until now. Following Monday’s first reading at City Hall, the council will officially vote on the second reading Nov. 30, which would determine whether the ordinance becomes an adopted policy.

According to City Attorney Justin Johnson’s document attached to the agenda, there are several exceptions to the ordinance. The exceptions include athletes engaged in a recreation activity such as basketball, hockey and swimming would not be required to wear a mask or face covering. In addition, Johnson states swimmers office staff “not sharing an area” would also be exempt under the mask ordinance.

Under the mask ordinance that is being proposed on Monday, Johnson’s document states that violators may be removed from city property and barred entry for 24 hours following the violation.

The proposed mask ordinance comes as Davison County and South Dakota are experiencing a COVID-19 surge that’s seen infection rates rise to record highs in the month of October and into November.


According to the state Department of Health’s most recent update on Sunday, Davison County had a total of 838 active cases, with 1,017 recoveries. Since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, there have been a total of 1,870 COVID-19 infections detected in Davison County.

Consent agenda

The following items will be considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approve the minutes from the Nov. 2 City Council meeting.

  • Approve the Oct. 13 Planning Commission meeting minutes.

  • Approve department reports.

  • Approve the following raffle permit: Gertie Belle Rogers with the drawing to be held on Dec. 1, 2020.

  • Approve change order No. 3 for sidewalk schedule E project No. 2019-4 to Top Grade Concrete.

  • Set the time and date for the following bid opening: 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 for West Ash CIPP project No. 2020-12 in City Hall.

  • Set the date for the following alcohol license hearings: Dec. 7, 2020, Blarney’s, LLC, doing business as Blarney’s Sports Bar and Grill, for a new retail (on-off sale) malt beverage and South Dakota farm wine license, located at 2100 Highland Way; Dec. 7, 2020, transfer RL-5773 retail (on-sale) liquor license from VFW Post 2750, doing business as VFW Home Association, located at 215 N. Main St., to VFW Post 2750, doing business as VFW Home Association, located at 215 N. Main St. in Mitchell.

  • Approve Nov. 16 pay estimates.

  • Approve bills, payroll, salary adjustments, new employee hires, authorization of recurring payments and other expenses.

Other business

  • Recite Pledge of Allegiance, hear invocation from Seventh Day Adventists church, roll call, hear citizens’ input.

  • Hear update on COVID-19 impacts on Avera Health in Mitchell.

  • Approve applications for renewal of alcohol licenses.

  • Approve awarding bid for Phase II of the East Central Drainage. City staff recommends awarding the $3,074,473 bid submitted by First Rate Excavate Inc., which was the low bid of the three that were submitted.

  • Approve agreement to utilize engineering services with HDR Engineering for the Ash Avenue CIPP project.

  • Approve resolution No. R2020-74, a plat of lot 16 of the Island First Addition, a subdivision of the southeast quarter of section 31, township 104 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian in the city of Mitchell.

  • Approve resolution No. R2020-75, a plat of lots 62 and 63 of Maui Farms Second Addition, a subdivision of the southeast quarter of section 31 and previously platted lot 4 in the east half of the west half of section 31, township 104 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian in the city of Mitchell.

  • Approve resolution No. R2020-76, an agreement that would streamline E-911 services for surrounding counties that utilize Mitchell’s emergency services.

  • Approve resolution No. R2020-77, a resolution giving approval to certain sewer facilities improvements.

  • Approve first reading of ordinance No. O2020-14, amending department head titles and departmental organization.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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