Deadwood mayor calls for voluntary closures

Pioneer file photo

DEADWOOD — Deadwood’s mayor, Dave Ruth, Jr., has called for the voluntary temporarily closure of the city’s casinos, dining rooms, and bars.

In a prepared statement he delivered Monday afternoon, Ruth said many people had contacted him regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To date, I have not provided you with a directive,” Ruth said. “However, many local businesses including some of our larger casinos have taken the steps, voluntarily, to cease operations until the threat of the pandemic passes.” 

He called for the following:

• Stop allowing patrons the option of dining in at restaurants immediately. The option of take out, curbside service or delivery may still be used. 

• Immediately cease all on-sale alcohol sales.

• Close down your casinos temporarily until the COVID-19 threat has passed.

“While I recognize these decisions are difficult and impact many employees and their families, in addition to the strain they place upon you as business owners, just this morning the United State’s Surgeon General warned ‘the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week’ and said that ‘people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough’. The time to take things more seriously is now.”

He added that 90% of casinos across the United States, including all of the casinos in Nevada and New Jersey have been closed in an effort to help reduce community spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Kristi Noem told South Dakotans Monday morning to brace for a months-long fight with COVID-19, as she announced the emergence of seven more cases and signs that it’s spreading in communities.

So far, the governor has tried to address the global COVID-19 pandemic by pinpointing cases and trying to limit widespread exposure to the community. But her messaging took a turn as she said infections will continue to increase. She planned to issue an emergency order later Monday.

It appeared the order would be more guidance than decree. When Noem was asked about possibilities like sheltering in place, closing non-essential businesses or halting elective surgeries, she said the order would clarify what she has the power to do.

South Dakota currently has 28 positive COVID-19 cases including 12 in Beadle County.

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