Chamber Statement on COVID19

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March 23, 2020
South Dakota Chamber applauds state’s caution regarding COVID-19
Organization urges leaders to remain attentive to new developments
PIERRE, S.D. — It is clear the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a serious threat and that South Dakota needs to take all reasonable precautions to contain its spread throughout the state’s population. The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry applauds Gov. Kristi Noem and other leaders for following a balanced, cautious approach that seems to be working without overly restraining economic activity.
“We have learned today just how serious this pandemic will get right here in South Dakota” said Chamber President David Owen. “The governor is working to protect citizens from the virus while allowing people to find the level of protection that best fits their circumstances.”
Acknowledging the uncertainty of the decision environment and the crucial need to protect citizens’ health, the Chamber expresses concern that overly restricting economic activity could result in broader harm to people and jobs. Steps taken to protect schools from acting as points of community spread and to cancel mass gatherings appear to be effective. Keeping at-risk people away from exposure has undoubtedly been the right decision. These steps will need to be strengthened.
Local governments can best choose how to regulate businesses where people tend to congregate in close proximity.  Currently, the Chamber believes that most offices and manufacturing businesses can take measures to protect their personnel while keeping risks low. Many businesses are able to take these actions while avoiding a loss of jobs or income needed to pay staff, pay operational bills, repay loans and meet other common obligations.
Let the facts direct our reactions. The Chamber urges leaders to analyze data about new people presenting with symptoms and evaluate if current precautions are having a beneficial impact before imposing additional restraints on people’s livelihoods.
About the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry promotes, fosters and encourages economic development in the state of South Dakota. The organization acts as an advocate and watchdog for business and industry on statewide issues ranging from legislation to ballot measures.
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David Owen, President
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