Mitchell mayor lifts shutdown after governor unveils new plan for reopening

Last Friday the City of Mitchell's shut down mandating that specific types of businesses close their doors or restaurants transition to curbside pickup, takeout and delivery only option in Mitchell took effect. Several locations began adjusting before the city's ban came into effect. (Matt Gade / Republic)

In a sudden twist of events, the city shutdown has been lifted after Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson rescinded the emergency ordinance Tuesday evening.

That means all businesses are eligible to be opened immediately.

Everson's decision came after Gov. Kristi Noem unveiled her "Back to Normal" plan during a press conference Tuesday evening, which called for ending restrictions on businesses that were forced to close. Everson said the guidelines that were in place for the city's reopening ordinance didn't align with the governor's new plan, leading him to the decision to rescind the ordinance immediately.

"Based on what we heard from the governor on this afternoon, I am rescinding my emergency order, and businesses in the city will be able to open immediately," Everson said. "The governor rescinded everything in our ordinance."

While Everson rescinded the emergency ordinance Tuesday evening, which went into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the Mitchell City Council will vote on whether to honor Everson's decision to lift the shutdown ordinance that has been in effect since April 3. From now until Monday's council meeting, the businesses that were forced to close due to the city's emergency shutdown ordinance are permitted to remain open until Monday's upcoming meeting.


The city shutdown was aimed at reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which crept into Mitchell on March 10. As of Tuesday afternoon, Davison County saw a total of five confirmed cases.

Everson noted some city facilities will also be reopening shortly upon discussion with city officials and the Mitchell City Council.

As several local business owners endure the steep revenue shortfalls that have hit their businesses amid the city shutdown that was enacted April 3, Tuesday provided a sigh of relief, as businesses that were affected by the city shutdown were cleared to operate.

Shawn Hohn, owner of Platinum Players Club, is one of many local bar and casino owners who was encouraged by the actions the council was beginning to take on Monday with its approval of the ordinance that set guidelines for businesses to reopen. While Hohn and his patrons were gearing up to adapt to some new business practices inside of his bar and casino, those will no longer apply after Everson rescinded the ordinance and the guidelines attached to it.

“We wouldn't have a problem with making some rearrangements where we have to, but we will be thankful to operate,” he said prior to the Everson's decision to lift the shutdown. “It’s not ideal for our patrons to have to follow the guidelines, but I am just really glad we can open our doors for them and get business going again.”

Under the ordinance that received the council’s approval Monday night at City Hall, all bars and casinos, along with additional businesses included in the ordinance, were preparing to mandate their patrons and customers maintain at least 6 feet of separation. But that all changed with Everson opting to lift the shutdown and rescind the ordinance that set the guidelines for businesses to follow.

With the building size of Platinum Players Club, Hohn said the 6 feet of separation would make for some challenges among his patrons. Considering some of the gaming and lottery machines inside Platinum Players Club are situated with less than 6 feet of separation, Hohn said he would have had to tape off some gaming machines, which would have reduced the availability of gaming options.

“We are a little different compared to the big bars in town, and we have more of a niche business that welcomes more middle-aged and elders that like a more quiet place to socialize, so we will have to adapt to the 6 feet of separation,” Hohn said.


The Platinum Players Club in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

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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