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Dickinson enacts 30-day moratorium on special events

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First on First, 2019. (Photo by Josiah Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Trinity Fall Gala would have to be postponed as a result of the moratorium. According to Trinity the event will continue as scheduled.

With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise in Stark County, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum moved the county to "high yellow" on the state's coronavirus alert system — just shy of orange, the second-highest COVID-19 threat level.

In an effort to keep the county from going orange, officials at the city, county and state levels discussed ideas to stabilize the number of cases.

"The background behind it is obviously the increase in the COVID-19 cases within Stark County, and yesterday we had a joint meeting between city and county officials and state officials discussing the rapidly increased COVID-19 numbers in Stark County, and we had discussed some measures that we can do to help prevent the number of COVID cases increasing," said Chief Dustin Dassinger, Dickinson Police Department and Dickinson Executive Board member.

Their solution was to enact a 30-day moratorium on all events in Dickinson for which a special permit would need to be granted by the city.

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"That would be events that are outside the scope of normal business operations. For example, a business wanted to hold an event in their parking lot that normally wouldn't be held, like a beer garden or a dance in the street," Dassinger said. "An example would be ... Trick or Trunk ... that's a large event in which we close the streets for. Obviously, a large number of kids and parents gather for that. Those are the types of events that we would not be permitting at this time."

Events such as The Spur's tailgating party are included in the moratorium.

The Spur had already received a special permit and began utilizing it last weekend before the changes were announced.

"(They were) basically moving the football tailgating event that's normally held in the parking lot of the BAC (Henry Biesiot Activities Center) to their parking lot. For the home football game, they extended their alcohol service area into the parking lot to allow for that event. That's an event that we had pulled, so they're no longer going to be able to do that event coming up for this weekend," Dassinger said.

Depending on the trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, the moratorium could be extended beyond the 30-day period.

"We will evaluate the numbers and the positivity rate coming in. The whole goal of this is to prevent the threat level increasing to another category in Stark County, and basically in a sense, we're trying to do things to keep our business stores open, our schools open and our sports teams on the field," Dassinger said.

Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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