Occupancy limits for patrons are loosened in public places


The De Smet City Councilors voted 5 to 1 during their May 13 meeting to loosen the limits on the number of customers to be allowed at one time in the bars, restaurants, health centers, entertainment venues and businesses of De Smet.

The Council determined at their monthly meeting to follow the guidelines of the National Center for Disease Control, and many other South Dakota communities, regarding reopening amid the COVID-19 safeguards and permit 50% of the businesses’ normal occupancy allowance to be effective immediately. The Council had previously set a limit of 25 people, excluding employees, at each food/beverage establishment and at the De Smet Event and Wellness Center.

The motion by Councilor George Cavanaugh included that this rule would be in effect until the Council meets again at their regularly scheduled meeting on June 10. The restriction of 6 feet between tables still remains in effect. Councilman Jay Slater has remained opposed to the reopening of the businesses.

Discussion was held in regard to the reopening of City Hall and the City Library, and members decided that they remain closed until June 10 when it will be reviewed by the Council. The city restrooms and shower facilities will reopen at the parks.

A great deal of time and discussion was once again held on De Smet airport projects. Councilman Lowell Hansen requested that the city consider constructing a containment pad at the airport at a cost of $12,912 to protect from future contamination of any fluids and to establish a baseline for future testing. Slater spoke by video, agreeing that this would be a good investment for the future and would be more user friendly for aerial applicators, hopefully increasing the usage of the airport. He suggested that there could be possible financial assistance with the federal government’s CARES Act. This discussion was tabled to gather more information.

A change order was approved for an increase in the Taxilane and Hardstand Improvement project at the airport with the understanding that this was still within the current grant that was received for the project.

Isaac Wilde appeared by video requesting to lease additional land for his aerial spraying business. Approval was given for a lease by Wilde of an 80 by 130-foot lot with care to be given to a recently seeded area.

Other action taken by the Council:

The Kingsbury Journal was selected as the official newspaper for the city.

Wes Clubb, manager of the summer baseball program, reported that youth baseball games will begin on June 4. The amount of $3,600 will be given to the program for supplies and pay for assistant coaches for travel and expenses. Background checks will be conducted for all summer recreation staff, including the baseball coaches.

Finance Officer Tracey Larson announced that the city was approved for a $565,000 State Revolving Fund loan for the water looping project to install approximately 2,040 linear feet of 6-inch water mains, installation of fire hydrants, valves, and street repairs.

Five building permit applications were approved, including three fences and two decks. An application by Jenney Grover for a small accessory house to be constructed in her backyard was denied, and two proposed additions for Troy Halverson will be given more review.

Rita Anderson reported the Development Corporation is moving forward on several projects, including the Kingsbury Journal, a new day care center and additional housing projects.

Councilor Hansen suggested studying the longevity of the water tower in town, which is almost 100 years old.


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