Entries Tagged 'Corona Virus' ↓

Is it time to allow Downtown Sioux Falls Bars to sell open container?

Across the country this has been common practice for awhile, and with Covid many businesses have been adapting by selling cocktails to go in takeaway orders.

I have advocated for a long time that city ordinance should change, specifically during the summer months, that Downtown bars should be able to sell drinks to go in plastic cups for strolling Downtown strictly.

I don’t think this should be a free for all, but I think it would help out the Downtown hospitality industry in extra sales.

Give me your pros and cons.

Covid Holiday in Sioux Falls

So I have been hearing rumors that residents from Minnesota are coming to Sioux Falls for ‘Covid Holiday Weekends’. The latest was a group of middle-aged ladies who spent the weekend shopping, getting their hair and nails done than having a nice dinner downtown.

Maybe that is why Noem decided to keep everything open, Covid tourism.

Social Distancing? Not so much

I found this picture on FB last night, this is a line outside a popular bar in DTSF. While the restrictions are not set to lift until Tuesday, I have noticed many drinking establishments have chosen to just ignore them anyway. And why not? There are no leaders or people in authority in charge in this town. The worst part about this pandemic isn’t scenes like this, it is the total lack of leadership by our elected officials. Why implement half-baked rules with no real teeth if people are just going to ignore them anyway?

Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken thinks he is a Ceremonial Mayor, wish he was

Paul seems to think he is a part-time glorified city mayor instead of a city administrator. Wish he was, would save us a lot of money and heartache. Maybe it is time we do this?

As I suspected, a lot of our ‘essential’ food is going to China

I heard about this about a month ago;

Smithfield Foods has been trying to scare us away from restricting its activities at its coronavirus-riddled Sioux Falls plant by warning that any disruption of its vital activities could lead to a meat shortage. Yet even as they lobbied for an executive order from the White House to immunize their facilities from state shutdown orders, Smithfield and other mega-meatmongers have been shipping more pork to China:

About a month ago I got a tip from a reader that a certain cold storage warehouse in Sioux Falls had about 9 months worth of Smithfield product stacked up in the facility ‘awaiting shipment’. I asked this person why don’t they just distribute it already in the United States, especially with some food shortages. His answer, “The labels are in Mandarin. It’s headed to China but are struggling to get it shipped.”

So while I understand supplying food to Americans as essential, I’m not certain Americans risking their lives to pack food for China is essential. It reminds me of the XL pipeline that ships oil from Canada through the US to be put on tankers in the Gulf that go to China.

And we wonder why some of us ‘vilify’ the pork packer.

Obama finally says something

UPDATE: Why is the City of Sioux Falls waiting 2 weeks to open city buildings?

Notice in the video the Mayor said he will not being going out to eat. Good choice. But what I don’t understand is if this Mayor and City Council gave a green light to the rest of the city to reopen, why not the city buildings?

I will give you my best theory. They are using the citizens of Sioux Falls as Guinea pigs. Basically if this explodes over the next two weeks the city employees who work with the public will not be exposed, and likely not return on May 18. While I think it is a good idea for them to not return during the middle of peak why is it okay for the rest of us?

There seems to be a bit of hypocrisy going on here. You tell the people who receive their salaries from the tax payers, you don’t have to make a choice, you get to stay home, but you force the very people who pay those wages to make a difficult decision? Either go back to work, or lose my unemployment benefits, either way, I really don’t get to make a choice.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander Mayor. If you think it is okay to reopen hospitality and service industries in Sioux Falls why not direct the city employees back to the office? The Minnehaha Treasurer’s office has been operating this whole time.

I also think he fears what the repercussions would be if a city employee gets seriously ill or even dies. If he is thinking those things about his employees, why doesn’t he have the same fears for private employees?

It really shows who the mayor thinks really counts, and it’s not the people paying his wages.

UPDATE: I knew this was not going to work very well and be a nightmare for hospitality workers, I found this comment on FB from a bartender at a popular bar in DTSF;

I just worked my first shift and the guidelines they are having us follow are nearly impossible to maintain. It is so dumb to have a bar open up and expect us to make sure these drunk people don’t gather at a table with more than 6 people and making sure they stand 6 ft apart while serving them alcohol. Seriously why?! It just more reason for our guest to call us assholes because we have to tell them “you can’t stand next to your friend we have to enforce social distancing“.

People circulate at a bar and no matter how much we try to table serve they want to come to the rail. If more people come out I don’t know how we will ever be able to manage that even with a full staff. Thanks Crusty Gnome

Making this post for anyone who is curious how the first day of opening a popular downtown bar was like.

UPDATE: The choice to ‘not work’ was ripped from citizens today in Sioux Falls by the city council

I have been shaking my head quite a bit over the last couple of months with the response from the governor, our mayor and city council. They keep telling us that this is about ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘personal choice’. But that ‘choice’ was ripped from citizens today when the council voted 7-1 to lift restrictions on the hospitality industry and other similar businesses. Councilor Starr voted against the measure because they failed to pass an amendment that would sunset this on June 5th for review. That amendment was a tie vote with the Mayor voting to break the tie by voting NO.

Employees who get called back to work will have to give up their unemployment benefits. If they ‘choose’ to not return, those benefits will go away. So do they really have a ‘choice’? Nope. Because this state’s elected officials have set up a system of employment where the employer controls the employees lives and choices. Sure, you don’t have to return, but you now have no social net, so you only have one choice, the one your employer made for you. Go to work. Get sick. Hope you survive.

We have known for a long time that employees in this state have little rights. The only real right you have is that you can quit your job on a dime and their are NO repercussions from it, as well as no benefits.

I have been very fortunate that I have been able to go to work each day during this, and work from home. My choice. But I don’t work in hospitality. I also have an employer who has put a plan in place where we distance ourselves in the office, we also disinfect several times a day.

The difference from being in a secluded office setting and working in a restaurant is the points of contact. We have hand sanitizer everywhere in the office. We all have our personal stash on our desks, medical grade. And we don’t touch much except door handles. My experience as a server has thought me that you have thousands of points of contact within one shift. How can a server, a cook, a hostess or a bartender avoid that contact? It will be virtually impossible and people will get sick.

I could go on a rant about the stupidity of this, but I think that is obvious at this point. I have argued for a long time that these businesses are protected thru the Federal programs and their laid off employees are protected through unemployment benefits, now they want to f’ck that whole system up so people can go eat at Crapplebees. Completely insane. Your FREEDOM and LIBERTY ends when you endanger others knowingly. I think the Constitution is pretty clear.

ALL KINDS OF TESTING FOR PEOPLE WHO MAKE HOTDOGS

While I am all for Smithfield workers getting streamlined testing, what about the rest of us? If we can knock out 2,600 tests in a couple of days, why not continue the drive-thru testing for everyone? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that widespread testing is what will stop the spread. We have been told this every day for over 60 days!

This pandemic has drawn a clear line in the sand of who the ‘Haves’ are and who the ‘Have nots’ are. We are no longer the country our founding fathers concocted. If there has been anything through all this that has given me anxiety and distress is that the country I love is ran by a bunch of f’ing greedy morons! May they rot.

UPDATE: I also want to point out that while we are basically forcing hospitality workers back to work and off of unemployment benefits, many pencil pushers with the city will not have to be ‘phased’ back into work until May 18, as announced by the mayor today. My contention all along is if private industry has to go back to work, public employees must also. How can you say it is okay for us ‘worker bees’ to show up and shut up, but the people we pay thru our taxes can shelter in place? If you are concerned about their wellbeing (and you should be) what about the people who put food on their tables? I think a great amendment today would have been to direct ALL city employees to report to work on Monday in their offices. Oh, that’s right, it is unsafe.

Mayor TenHaken’s interview with Argus

I was a little disappointed that Joe didn’t have tougher questions and didn’t push Paul on some of his answers.

Some highlights;

Paul doesn’t know if he will run for a second term but did say that he wasn’t interested in running for Governor or Senate or Congress. He may be eating those words in two years.

Paul thinks it is individual’s personal responsibility to decide whether to go out to eat or not. The problem with that is, these same people may be spreading it to people who are NOT choosing to go out. That is the problem with the B.S. Libertarian attitude. It is a highly infectious/contagious virus that spreads without symptoms and kills. It is NOT like the Flu. He thinks the government shouldn’t be telling people what to do and commented that Smithfield is getting vilified and they ‘Did a lot of things right.’ WOW! Then contradicts himself by saying it spread in the plant due to high levels of moisture in the air, then follows that statement up with saying, it spread outside the plant. So which one is it? Well it is both, but it spread more rapidly at the plant, that is obvious.

When Joe asked him how Covid is affecting his personal life he said he hasn’t been able to attend any ‘Galas’. Oh, you poor baby. In the 29 years I have lived in Sioux Falls I have been to a total of about four galas, and I was a guest or got a free ticket. He also said he is having lower back problems due to stress that started when he became mayor. That’s funny, up until the floods occurred he had it pretty easy jet setting all over the country. I guess flying to cocktail parties and hob knobbing is ‘stressful’.

And when asked if he would have done anything different looking back on the Village on the River Bunker ramp disaster he said he ‘Would not have done anything different.’

WOW!

Joe should have hammered him on that response. While Bowlcut & Bucktooth started us down this disastrous path, PTH could have stopped it. It amazes me how NO elected officials want to take responsibility for this massive F’Up!

TenHaken has been anything but a leader

When I first saw this article, I thought maybe it was an Onion parody;

Paul TenHaken, Sioux Falls mayor (R): He has carefully balanced South Dakota’s resistance to mandatory restrictions with the public health needs of his city, where Smithfield pork processing plant became a hot spot. He enacted a measure that “strongly encourages” people to stay at home, but decided against an order.

I also find it interesting they put the (R) behind his name considering the mayor of Sioux Falls is a non-partisan position.

He has blamed everyone else and made excuses all along the way as to why he couldn’t lead on this. Here are some memorable moments;

• Twice mentioned he didn’t sign up for this. I think the second time around he said in a press conference, “This Sucks!”

• Failed to use manuals in place to deal with this crisis (I have heard from several past city officials that they do exist).

• Failed to get his health department to do proper inspections of businesses and give them a hand up in helping them prepare a safe work environment.

• Blames the Governor, the Legislature, his own city attorney and others why he cannot lead.

• Has butt heads in private and public meetings with the city council than turns around and puts the decision making in their laps.

• Has thrown transparency out the door by having executive sessions that don’t pertain to the criteria of having them.

I have argued from the beginning, as the city’s administrator, as the charter dictates, he has the power to force his city directors and health department to take action. He doesn’t need the blessing of the city council, the mayor, the legislature, his health board, city attorney or even the president to do it. He has the executive authority to enforce health ordinances on the books. And I think if he would have taken some of those measures early on, we wouldn’t be where we are at. I even think some if not most of restaurants could have stayed open if he would have set those guidelines early.

But we really can’t wrestle with the past, but we can take measures moving forward. A new report came out today from the White House that the midwest will be hit the hardest over the next two months because we were the last to start having outbreaks. Letting up now won’t end well for us. I would ask Paul to start leading, but I’m afraid it is too late for that. Hold on tight folks, it is going to be a rough summer.