Council prohibits on-site service at bars, restaurants; closes entertainment, recreation businesses


BROOKINGS – The Brookings City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance designed to slow community spread of COVID-19.

The temporary city-ordered measures in Ordinance 20-005 prohibit on-site food and beverage consumption at restaurants and bars and close entertainment and recreation facilities. 

Take-out, delivery, curbside and drive-through service are still allowed with social distancing procedures in place.

The ordinance includes prohibitions and closures which will affect: all restaurants, food courts, coffee houses, bars, breweries, clubs, cafes and other similar places of public accommodation offering food and beverages for on-site consumption, including any alcohol licensees with on-sale privileges; all recreational facilities, public pools, health clubs, athletic facilities and theaters, including movie theaters and music or entertainment venues; all cigar bars, vaping lounges or other similar businesses that allow for on-site consumption; all arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor golf ranges, casinos, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

An amendment by Councilor Ope Niemeyer, to include the closures of salons, barber shops and spas, was also passed unanimously by the council.

“I received phone calls from two different concerned salon workers, that they’re in such close contact with their customers that they’re concerned that either they will pass the virus to them, or they will get it from their customers,” Niemeyer said. “One of them in particular cited that quite a few elderly customers come to their salon, and they’re concerned about their well-being. Also, moms with children who aren’t in school right now.”

The closures and changes took effect at 7 p.m. Monday, March 23, and remain in effect through at least Wednesday, April 8. The ordinance is in effect for 60 days, so the council can take later action to extend the closures beyond April 8.

One member of the audience, Bradley Walker, expressed concerns about the ordinance and its potential to keep workers unemployed for up to 60 days. 

“Mostly, people are smart enough, they’re not going to go there if they’re sick,” he said of closing gyms which have already limited capacity and are cleaning constantly.

Excluded from the ordinance are: 

• Places that offer food and beverages for off-site consumption, including grocery stores, markets, retail stores that offer food, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores and food pantries; 

• Hardware and supply stores; 

• Room service in hotels; 

• Health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, day care facilities, and correctional facilities; 

• Crisis shelters, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or other similar institutions; 

• Any emergency facilities necessary for the response to the current public health emergency or any other community emergency or disaster

• Official meetings of the city, schools, county, or state. 

• The operations and meetings of any state or federal courts. 

Read the full ordinance at http://www.cityofbrookings.org/civicalerts.aspx?AID=2851

The council on Monday also passed Resolution 20-032, which gives City Manager Paul Briseno the authority to use reserve funds to provide emergency financial assistance through programs established by the Chamber of Commerce, Brookings Convention and Visitors Bureau and/or the Brookings Economic Development Corporation and other Brookings nonprofit organizations.

Using the funds will require future city council action and detail of all funds expended during the emergency, Briseno said. Purchases could include contracting, replacing necessary equipment, funding of programming, and assisting services necessary for the community.

Expenses would be coded to a special COVID-19 fund “in anticipation of potential reimbursement from the federal government,” Briseno said.

Read the full resolution at http://www.cityofbrookings.org/civicalerts.aspx?AID=2852

Mayor Keith Corbett thanked community members for being proactive with COVID-19 safety measures so far.

“It’s kind of been a unique couple of weeks, and I really want to thank the people of Brookings,  the way you pulled together, bars closing without the city saying anything to them out of concern for their employees and for the public. I just applaud that. And a number of restaurants that have done the same thing," Corbett said.

“Thank you so much for your commitment to the community and also your time that you’re spending checking on others. We’re going to get through this, and these ordinances we’ve got tonight with help us get through those.”

Contact Jill Fier at [email protected]

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