TenHaken might be called on for tiebreaking vote in Sioux Falls facemask debate

November 10, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls’ mayor says he would vote against a coronavirus mask mandate if he’s called upon to break a tie vote on the matter by the City Council.

The council will likely make a decision on the mandate Tuesday night.

“I’m probably gonna get put in the hot seat,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said. Eight council members will likely split evenly on the mandate, which carries a $50 fine for violations.

Paul TenHaken believes the mandate would be unenforceable by police and ineffective in lowering local hospitalization rates, the Argus Leader reported.

The proposed ordinance would require face coverings in indoor public places where 6 feet of social distancing isn’t possible. It would not apply to children under five years of age, people seated at a public place to eat or drink, people receiving dental or medical care that prevents them from wearing a mask and those with a medical or mental health condition or disability that makes a mask unreasonable.

The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce opposes the ordinance while local faith leaders have supported it.