Governor Kristi Noem addressed the public today stating that we are at a critical juncture. She is extending the Executive Order to May 31.

With a model in place to mitigate COVID-19 in South Dakota Noem is changing the language in the Executive Order from 'should', "to shall".

With the latest data available those in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties who are 65 or older and have chronic medical conditions are being ordered to stay home for the next three weeks. The order doesn't confine this group to their homes. You can go outside and enjoy the outdoors. Noem says to continue to social distance and stay away from others.

Regarding schools, the Governor says, "it just doesn't make sense to bring our kids back into our school buildings this year." Governor Noem has asked that South Dakota schools remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

More than 160 municipal and county officials have signed a letter requesting Governor Noem to declare a public health emergency that would authorize the political subdivisions of this state to enact regulations through ordinance or resolution to prescribe procedures to control and contain the spread of COVID-19.

The letter, which was also signed by Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHanken, points out the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This act requires a state to issue an emergency declaration to access funds for South Dakota households under its provisions for emergency allotments to address temporary food needs.

In addition, the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act creates a coronavirus relief fund that will grant South Dakota $1,250,000,000 to use towards expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency. A declaration of a public health emergency would give South Dakota access to these, and potentially others, much-needed funds.

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