By Kelli Bultena
Lennox Council held a special meeting on Monday, May 4 for the first reading of Ordinance 610, which will ease restrictions on businesses, instead of restricting businesses to 10 patrons or fewer, business will be limited to 50% of their maximum occupancy.
The Council also reviewed revisions to the City’s Covid-19 response plan, which states they will re-open the city’s park playgrounds, ball courts, and tennis courts. After discussion it was noted that the plan was to be amended before the second reading to keep ballfields closed for structured sports or organized practice.
The Council will have another special meeting this weekend, following the state minimum five-days after the first reading to approve the Ordinance, which will go in to effect at that time.
The ordinance and City’s COVID-19 Response Plan can be read in its entirety here:
A portion of Ordinance 610 states, any enclosed retail business that promotes public gathering may resume operations in a manner that allows for reasonable physical distancing, good hygiene and appropriate sanitation, according to the attached Covid-19 Business Checklists published by the South Dakota Department of Health. Such businesses should also continue utilizing business models that do not involve public gatherings, including takeout, delivery, drive-thru, curbside service, and off-site services, wherever possible.
All restaurants, food courts, coffee houses, bars, cafes, and other similar places of public accommodation offering food, beverages, or other products for on-site consumption, including any alcohol licensees with on-sale privileges, shall limit occupancy not more than fifty (50%) percent of the maximum occupancy as determined by state or local building or fire codes, whichever is greater.
It was noted that the businesses shall attempt to establish a minimum six-foot distance between any tables, chairs, booths and barstools. It was also noted that the maximum allowed occupancy shall be posted at all entrances to the business in a manner that is visible.
The ordinance also encourages places of public accommodation offering food, beverages, or other products for on-site consumption shall encourage employees to wash hands at regular intervals, shall conduct daily employee health screenings and shall encourage all employees to wear a mask which covers their nose and mouth when serving customers.
Guidelines for individuals are outlined in the ordinance as well. They include the following:
a. Review and practice the recommended CDC hygiene practices designed to stop the spread of the virus causing COVID-19;
b. Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, call a healthcare provider for instructions if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and stay at home if sick;
c. Understand that those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, including those over the age of 60 and those suffering from respiratory or cardiac conditions, should take extra precautions and remain home if possible;
d. Implement social distancing measures and support businesses that are adjusting their business model to reduce the spread of the virus causing COVID-19;
e. Assist those who work in essential jobs such as emergency personnel, medical professionals, and law enforcement; and
f. Spend time outdoors while practicing social distancing in compliance with CDC guidelines.
According to the Response Plan, City Hall will remain closed to the general public. Administrative staff will work remotely as much as possible. Remote work continues to be authorized. The City will continue to require the public to pay utility bills or other fees online or over the phone, and to complete any city-related business remotely.
Staff will resume shared vehicle use as needed. The Lennox Community Library will continue offering curbside service under revised hours with approval from the Lennox School District.
The Lennox Senior Center will remain closed.
Building inspections will resume and permit reviews, ordinance revisions, and other standard work will continue remotely.
Dump Day has been suspended for the immediate future. Scheduling of this event will be discussed in the coming weeks.
After the second reading of Ordinance 610, Ordinance 608 would be repealed lifting the restriction of ten or less patrons in a business. The new ordinance would be in effect until May 27, 2020.
Council also discussed the upcoming decision for Park and Rec programming. The pool opening date of June 1 is still hopeful, but Mayor Tracy West noted that it would likely not look like your typical summer.
Mayor West said he talked to Governor Noem about opening the pool.
“She indicated we should look very hard at how we open it. How we clean. How we prepare our staff and how we keep social distancing. Do we do it in shifts? We have to clean after each shift. There are a lot of things that go on. She didn’t say don’t open it, she said it should look pretty different than having 300 kids in a pool at the same time. It won’t be the normal pool season was her heavy recommendation,” he said.
It was stated that a survey would be sent out to people involved in Parks and Rec programing to gauge the level of interest and comfort.
Council member Brock Rops said, “I’m curious to see what their attitudes are towards it. I still want to see how it’s possible, I don’t understand how this is possible… or if the fears are, well, if we have t-ball, or if we have Little League how the elderly population, who’s supposed to be sheltered in place, is possibly going to get COVID?”
Mayor West stated he wanted to talk with the Park and Rec Board as a whole group to go over plans.
Council member Chad Wulf suggested that answers from the survey might provide guidance for the council.
To watch the city council meeting visit the City of Lennox Youtube channel or click the link at www.lennoxnews.com.