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Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen, along with Meade County Commissioner Ted Seaman discuss COVID-19 preparations at a Wednesday conference.
Gary Matthews
Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen, along with Meade County Commissioner Ted Seaman discuss COVID-19 preparations at a Wednesday conference.

City of Sturgis, Meade County address COVID-19 in Wednesday conference

Gary Matthews - March 25, 2020

STURGIS, S.D. – Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen says they do not anticipate having to pass an ordinance that would put restrictions on local businesses and gathering places in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar ordinance in Rapid City is up for second reading on Friday.

Carstensen says the reason is because businesses in Sturgis are already cooperating and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

"As far as what the council is doing for action, we do not have any special meetings planned at this point and we don't have any ordinances written to close anything down. That's because with the Governor's recent Executive Order, and reaching out to all businesses, we have told them they don't have to close, but they need to adhere to those C.D.C. guidelines, and if businesses can't adhere to those, they have closed."

Mayor Carstensen says they have closed the Community Center, City Offices to the walk-in public, Recycling bins and the Rubble Site. Some city staff are also working from home.

Carstensen says this is a serious situation, but we are strong, and will get through it.

"There is some balance that needs to be had within our community. We don't need to panic. Obviously this is a serious situation, but we do need to work hard to keep a balance between as normal a life as we can and how to stop the spread of the COVID-19."

Carstensen says he is in daily communication with Monument Health hospital in Sturgis to get updates.

When asked about the rally – celebrating its 80th year in 2020, Carstensen says as of now, it’s still a go.

This year’s rally officially begins August 7th.

Meanwhile, Meade County Commissioner Ted Seaman also gave an update on the county side today.

The county met yesterday and are working on some protocols within their offices should an employee test positive for COVID-19.

Seaman says their intent right now is to make sure the county is able to appropriately adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions to ensure organizational readiness during this emergency.

As of now, county offices are open, however, notices have been posted on the doors of the Erksine Building that C.D.C. guidelines will be strictly followed.

Both Mayor Carstensen and Commissioner Seaman remind citizens that law enforcement, police, sheriff and other essential services are not being affected.

Here is a copy of the letter Sturgis Mark Carstensen sent to business owners:

Dear Owner/Operator:
I have heard from many businesses over the past week asking if it is necessary to temporarily close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, I have not issued a directive nor has the Council discussed specific statutory actions at this time. However, many local businesses have taken the steps, voluntarily, to cease or significantly change operations until the threat of the pandemic passes. We applaud and support these difficult decisions.
Though there are thankfully few cases of Covid-19 in South Dakota at this time, the testing has been very limited. The number of cases is anticipated to grow significantly. Community spread within the state is imminent if it has not already occurred and our community will not be spared. In order to slow the spread, the President has called on significant curtailment of business practices for a limited time. This is hoped to slow the spread and allow the medical community time to prepare and mitigate the issues that will ultimately arise. Additionally, yesterday, the Governor issued an Executive Order advising municipalities of the following:
➢ Restrict public gatherings of ten people or more, unless it is necessary.
➢ Review the business practices of each “enclosed retail business that promotes public gatherings” in their community for compliance with the Executive Order and protect the ability of those businesses to innovate.
➢ Encourage entrepreneurial innovation in the private sector to provide employment opportunities to protect the continued operation of the free market consistent with recommended CDC hygiene practices and understand that COVID-19 will impact their communities for potentially eight weeks or more.
With this in mind, I am entreating that all businesses ensure that there are no gatherings of more than 10 people. In addition, all businesses should ensure that their business practices are fully compliant with CDC recommendations (attached). To accomplish these aims, I am requesting you immediately take the following actions, if you have not done so already:
1) Ensure that there is continually cleaning and sanitizing protocols in place throughout your operational hours
2) Ensure that patrons are at least six feet apart from each other at all times in your establishment
3) Stop promoting and allowing any gatherings of more than 10 people

4) Ensure that customers are not touching various items and not purchasing them (especially produce)
5) If you maintain that your restaurant and dining area and/or bar is open to the public, you must ensure it is sanitized after each sitting, that there are fewer than ten individuals at each table, that tables are separated by at least six feet, and patron “groups” at the bar are separated by six feet. The option of take-out, curb-side service or delivery may still be used.
6) Any other health and sanitation precautions in line with CDC guidelines that would ensure the safety of your customers
While I recognize that this is a difficult request that will have significant impacts on you and your employees, these sacrifices are necessary as our community and nation fight this virus. I strongly encourage you to implement these actions immediately in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Together we can work to ensure that the community reduces the impact of this virus as much as possible.
Mark C. Carstensen, Mayor
City of Sturgis

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785