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Governor Noem address mask mandates at first COVID-19 press conference in months
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Governor Noem address mask mandates at first COVID-19 press conference in months

Governor Noem addresses mask mandates at first COVID-19 press conference in months


Gary Matthews - November 18, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. – For the first time since July, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem held a press conference to discuss COVID-19 as the virus continues to hit the state hard.

Noem acknowledged COVID-19 is something people in the state will be dealing with into 2021 and recognizes people are tired and exhausted from the pandemic while encouraging people to take personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus. 

However, she still does not favor putting in place a statewide mask mandate like some of her neighboring states have done.

"I'm going to continue to trust South Dakotans to make wise and well-informed decisions for them and their families," Noem said.

"And, I'm also reiterating my request that we continue to show each other respect and understanding for everybody who makes choices that we may or may not agree with."

Noem was asked about her latest Public Service Announcement airing on South Dakota media airwaves which says nothing about wearing a mask.

"The P.S.A. specifically reminded people we needed to be diligent and it was renewed because I wanted to thank our front line health care workers."

Noem continues to defend her stance of leaving it up to each individual when it comes to wearing a mask.

"We talk often about the government's role in a situation like this and dealing with a pandemic and at this point frankly, I'm getting even more concerned about how neighbors are treating neighbors and how people are treating each other in their communities. You may choose to wear a mask and be concerned about the virus and if people are scared, they should stay home. Butm if people choose not to (wear a mask) we should treat them with respect and understand they are making a personal decision and if we don't want to be around them, we have the opportunity not to do that as well."

Noem says she wants doesn’t want to approach a policy or a mandate, looking to make people feel good – she wants to do good when asked about responding to medical professionals who are asking for a mask mandate.

Gov. Noem pointed out vulnerable elderly populations need more protections. She said her heart breaks for those who are most vulnerable to the virus.



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