Sioux Falls City Council advances motion to repeal 'no mingling' ordinance

Published: May. 19, 2020 at 11:36 AM CDT
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The Sioux Falls City Council has advanced a proposal that would repeal certain COVID-19 restrictions currently in effect for many city businesses.

Mayor TenHaken issued the proposal in Tuesday night's city council meeting, saying that new COVID-19 cases have decreased in recent weeks.

Councilors voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the proposal. It still needs approval of a second reading at special meeting May 26. If councilors approve the second reading, the repeal would take effect May 29.

The proposal would repeal the city's current "no mingling" law, which requires food service businesses to keep patrons six feet apart, and requires other non-essential businesses to limit patrons to under 50 percent of their posted maximum occupancy.


Sioux Falls city leaders are set to discuss a proposal to repeal an ordinance enforcing certain COVID-19 restrictions on many businesses in the city.

The city council will hear the first reading of a proposal to repeal the so-called "no mingling" law Tuesday night.

The law

earlier this month, and went into effect on May 8. It required food service businesses like restaurants and bars to keep groups of patrons at least six feet apart. It required other businesses like gyms and entertainment venues to 50 percent of their posted maximum capacity.

The existing law replaced the previous "no lingering" law, which had tighter COVID-19 restrictions. It required non-essential businesses to limit patrons to ten or less at any given time. The measure was put in place in late March when COVID-19 cases first began to increase in the area.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken is proposing the repeal to the no mingling law. He explained his rationale in a letter to councilors, saying new cases confirmed per day have decreased consistently since May 9. He said the city also saw a "fairly minimal uptick" in cases from a large-scale testing event involving Smithfield Food employees earlier this month.

If the council approves the first reading, the council would need to approve a second reading at a special meeting May 26. If passed, the repeal would take effect May 29.

"Balancing public health and our economy is a tricky one, but I feel we have made good decisions thus far and want to see this continue," TenHaken said in the letter. "We have been nimble and responsive, while many cities/states across the country have not. I believe our wise actions to date have set us up well for a strong recovery in the months ahead."