Taking the temperature on Sioux Falls mask mandate

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 6:55 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s been about a week-and-a-half since a mask mandate went into effect in Sioux Falls. It requires masks to be worn in all retail businesses and city buildings where social distancing is not possible.

Curt Soehl, the city councilor who first proposed the original mask mandate feels it’s going well so far despite there being no penalty.

“I’ve been out and about in the city a little bit. I’ve been to a hockey game and been doing some Christmas shopping and I saw overwhelming compliance at those places. So I’m pretty happy that it’s gone that way. It looks like most people are just going ahead and putting on a mask and it’s not going to be an issue,” said Soehl.

He says he hasn’t heard any complaints yet.

Before the city-wide mandate took effect, stores like the Spice and Tea Exchange in downtown Sioux Falls had implemented their own store-wide mask mandate.

“For the most part, people have been okay with it. We’ve had people thank us because some stores they don’t feel safe in if other people aren’t wearing masks,” said Owner Tami Brown.

Although, since it’s become a city-wide effort, staff have had more people challenge them on wearing a mask.

“And we feel like some of that is just a little bit of retaliation because the city put a mandate in that they have no teeth for. Nobody will enforce it unless it’s a privately owned business like ours where we can,” said Brown.

Zandbroz Variety also had its own mask mandate in place. The staff there say now more people seem to take wearing a mask seriously.

“I have noticed a lot less people coming in without a mask, to begin with,” said Manager Jamie Scarbrough.

Sometimes, however, they do have to remind people and have masks available just in case.

“A lot of times we see the uptick of people pushing back on the masks on weekends when out of towners come to visit and they don’t know what it’s like here and in my store, but our regular customers know where we stand,” said Scarbrough.

Overall, businesses say most people have been masking up.

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