The Sioux Falls City Council officially voted on the proposed city-wide mask mandate during its second reading on Tuesday night, November 10th.  That vote ended in a 4-4 vote...a tie.

Council members that were for the mandate were Councilors Curt Soehl, Rick Kiley, Janet Brekke, and Pat Starr.  Those against were Councilors Marshall Selberg, Christine Erickson, Alex Jensen, and Greg Neitzert.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken had the final decision.  Mayor TenHaken voted against the city-wide mask mandate.  Final vote: 5-4.

For the record, Mayor TenHaken did say that he fully supports face masks and believes they slow the spread of COVID-19. The mayor indicated he regularly wears them himself.  Mayor TenHaken also reminded the council and residents attending the meeting that he has been publicly vocal about his stance on a mask mandate.

If this measure passed, it would have required face masks or coverings to be worn in indoor public places where 6-feet social distancing could not be achieved or maintained.  This measure also would have excluded individuals under the age of five, restaurant and bar patrons, and those consuming food and beverages from wearing masks.  Residents who are also currently receiving medical or dental care which prevents them from wearing face masks were not expected to do so under this ordinance.  This includes anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability.

Practicing social distancing would not have been necessary among family and friends or while attending sporting activities.  Public Safety Workers who were actively on duty also did not have to wear a mask.

The South Dakota Department of Health is reporting that as of Tuesday, November 10th, there are a total of 1018 new confirmed COVID-19 cases.  607 are currently hospitalized.  16,595 active cases are in the state as well as 540 deaths.  Overall, South Dakota has a total of 54,503 confirmed cases.  Minnehaha County alone has 15,059 confirmed cases.  Lincoln County has 3,864 confirmed cases.

You can find more details on this Sioux Falls City Council meeting at Dakota News Now.

On a separate note, I just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to the Sioux Falls City Council and Mayor Paul TenHaken. You work tirelessly to make sure our city is safe and execute the tough choices.  Not everyone will agree with every decision made.  Please know that your efforts do not go unnoticed.

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