Sioux Falls City Council votes no on proposed mask mandate with tie-breaking vote from mayor

Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 6:57 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Sioux Falls City Council has voted not to mandate mask-wearing in public places with a 5-4 tie-breaking vote from Mayor Paul TenHaken.

Council members Curt Soehl and Rick Kiley sponsored the mask mandate, which would have required face coverings in all indoor public places where six-foot social distancing is not possible. The proposal came following weeks of rising cases and hospitalizations in the state.

But questions abounded about how the measure would be enforced and several members of the public spoke about the health concerns that can be associated with wearing a mask.

The measure would have required masks to be worn indoors if six feet of social distancing was not possible. The City Council heard several members of the medical community who said nurses and doctors are being worn thin due to the high number of patients needing care for COVID-19 infections.

The initial vote of the measure came down to a 4-4 tie with Councilors Soehl, Kiley, Starr, and Brekke voting for the measure while Councilors Selberg, Jensen, Neitzert, and Erickson voted against the measure.

The tie brought in Mayor Paul TenHaken for a tiebreaking vote.

The Mayor has long said that while he strongly encourages residents to wear masks, he believes any sort of law requiring them would be “unenforceable" and voted against the proposal.

The Mayor did say he continues to urge Sioux Falls residents to wear masks, to social distance, and to practice proper hygiene in an effort to bring the virus under control.

This is a developing story.

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