Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken’s Tie-Breaker Vote Ends Mask Mandate
During Tuesday's evening meeting, the Sioux Falls City Council officially voted 4-4 in regards to the extension of the city's mask mandate...a tie. Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Tenhaken had to cast the final vote to break this tie. With an extremely heavy heart, Mayor TenHaken voted to end the city's mask mandate. Council members who voted for the mask mandate extension included Councilors Curt Soehl, Rick Kiley, Pat Starr, and Janet Brekke. Those against were Councilors Christine Erickson, Marshall Selberg, Alex Jensen, and Greg Neitzert.
Tensions really flared during the weekly City Council meeting. In short, each council member did what he/she thought was best for the city, and that's all anyone can expect from their public officials.
As Mayor TenHaken was reviewing his decision, he stated this is in no way a "victory." "What you're seeing tonight is indicative of a rising temperature in a community," explained Mayor TenHaken during his vote. After witnessing the emotions within the Council Chamber walls, Mayor TenHaken feared an extension of the mask mandate would be "more damaging" to the city even for just two weeks.
The South Dakota Department of Health is reporting that as of Tuesday, March 9th, there are a total of 124 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. 71 individuals are currently hospitalized. 2,097 active cases are in the state as well as 1,901 deaths. Overall, South Dakota has a total of 100,822 confirmed cases. Minnehaha County alone has 28,381 confirmed cases. Lincoln County has 13,005 confirmed cases.
Mayor Paul TenHaken will hold a COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday morning as the city looks back on the pandemic one year later.
More details about this City Council Meeting and Wednesday's press conference can be found at Dakota News Now.