County leaders say coronavirus shutdowns going too far


RAPID CITY (AP) – Pennington County leaders are complaining that the coronavirus shutdowns are overblown and businesses should use common sense in deciding whether to remain open.

The Rapid City Journal reports that several county commissioners said during a special meeting Saturday afternoon that the widespread shutdowns are going too far. Gov. Krisit Noem has raised concerns about the impending economic consequences of a shutdown and has so far not ordered businesses to close.

Commissioner Gary Drewes pointed out during the meeting that only 14 people in South Dakota have tested positive for the virus. He said he agrees with encouraging businesses to use common sense in making their own decisions.

“I have full confidence that this is going to turn the corner and that we are not in near as severe or dire shape as the picture being painted by some and I would encourage you to keep going to those businesses," Drewes said.

Tom Johnson, president and CEO of Elevate, a consortium of economic development organizations, told commissioners that closing area businesses could result in 500 to 4,000 layoffs depending on the duration of the crisis. He said $81 million in revenue and $10 million to $15 million in tax revenue could disappear.

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