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Mayor Allender asks public to limit visits to city facilities due to uptick in worker illnesses

(WVLT)
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 10:33 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Mayor Steve Allender is asking that the public to avoid going to City facilities unless necessary. In recent weeks Rapid City has been hit with an increase of illnesses, not only the definitive uptick in positive COVID cases, but also the flu, the and common cold With increasing numbers of positive COVID-cases. This increase in illnesses is causing a significant rise in work absences among City employees, from a few, to a large amount of people.

South Dakota is reporting 1958 new cases and the city of Rapid City is seeing more and more employees call out for illness reasons. Within city facilities, the number of COVID related absences has been monitored... with an average of 5 a week in the past... and 32 at the start of this week... prompting what Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says is more of a reminder for the public to limit visits to city buildings when at all possible, a request that initially went out at the start of the pandemic.

The mayor added that this is the first in a series of measures that could be put in place if necessary, so does that mean another mask mandate for city buildings? “It’s possible. Although, the evidence we have at this point is that the sick city employees are not customers service employees. There’s no indication that we’re being made sick by walk-ns at this point. Masks are something that we will, we already have some rules in meeting rooms, we would shore up those internal issues, but this doesn’t mean that we’re going to be pursuing any time of mask mandate outside of city workforces.”

“We are seeing a fast increase in both the number of cases of COVID-19, influenza and other illnesses in the area, as well as illnesses and absences among City employees,” said Mayor Allender. “At this point, we want to issue an advisory to the public to consider limiting visits to City facilities and exposure to employees.”

“Reports indicate we may be weeks away yet from reaching the peak of this latest variant. We are asking the public to consider alternatives rather than making an in-person visit to City facilities.”

Among the alternatives recommended by Mayor Allender:

*Utility bills can be paid online or by using the night depository on the west side of the City Hall facility;

*Utilize drive-through and online services at the Rapid City Public Library;

*File applications or register for activities online;

*Call or e-mail City departments to have questions or issues addressed;

*Call and set up appointments with City staff to pick up permits or drop off building plans.

*Purchase tickets for events online

*Continue to observe COVID restrictions at Rapid City Regional Airport

The wearing of face masks and social distancing is recommended and encouraged at City facilities.

The point behind reduced visitation and potential other measures is to keep city functions in operation. According to Allender... the recreation department is one hit the hardest by COVID and other illnesses currently making their way through the community.

For a reminder on how to use city services, not in person, head to our website.

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