Vermillion

With seating spaced out to provide distancing, the audience listens to the Vermillion City Council consider and emergency measure Tuesday to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

VERMILLION — The Vermillion City Council approved on its first reading an emergency ordinance designed to help contain the spread of coronavirus in the community.

The new regulation will — effective 9 a.m. Monday, March 30, after it receives its second reading at a special meeting of the City Council — restrict a host of retail and recreational activities in the city. Hit hard will be a significant part of Vermillion’s retail sector — its restaurants and bars.

The ordinance reads, in part, that, effective on that date, all restaurants, food courts, coffee houses, bars, cafes and similar businesses that offer food and beverages for on-site consumption, including alcohol licensees with on-sale privileges, are closed to on-site/on-sale patrons.

The ordinance allows such businesses to stay open and provide take-out, delivery, curbside and drive-thru services.

“Any business continuing to operate in order to provide lawful off-site service should implement procedures to ensure social distancing and operation in compliance with federal and state health guidelines in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the ordinance states.

Effective Monday, public pools, health clubs, spas, hair and nail salons, massage parlors, athletic facilities and theatres, including movie theatres and music and entertainment venues, are “directed to close and cease operations.”

Other local business activity that is restricted under the ordinance includes vaping lounges and similar businesses that allow for on-site consumption. They must cease on-site consumption but may continue to offer products for sale to consume off-site.

Video lottery casino operations in the community also must close beginning 9 a.m. Monday.

The new law will be in effect for 60 days beginning Monday. The law will expire after that period of time, but the City Council may continue it if it decides it’s still needed.

The emergency ordinance does not apply to public places that offer food and beverages for off-site consumption, including grocery stores, markets, retail stores that offer food, food pantries, convenience stores, liquor stores and drug stores; health care and correctional facilities, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and similar institutions.

The new law also will not affect official meetings of the city, county, schools or state; the operations and meetings of any state, federal or local governments or their courts, schools governed by the local school board or the South Dakota Board of Regents, and the city’s parks, trails, bike paths and The Bluffs Golf Course.

Alderman Tom Sorensen cast the only vote against the ordinance.

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