South Dakota Using Coronavirus Relief Funds For Tourism

The administration of South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem announced they will use five million dollars for tourism campaign ads from the federal coronavirus relief fund. 

Despite the state is one of the country’s most COVID-10 compromised, they invested the money to promote the area for tourism. The funds were used for a 30-seconds spot was the governor gave a speech at the Republican National Convention last month: “with our breathtaking landscapes and wide-open spaces, we’re a place to safely explore.” The word safety can be tricky as the South Dakota ranks second in the country for new cases per capita over the last two weeks, with 439 new cases per 100,000 people.

The ad was premiered on Fox News and it features Noem’s voiceover, the imagery shows dramatic footage of South Dakota’s most known places like Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park. 

In August, South Dakota was all over the news due to the 24 people infected in their Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Afterward, health officials in the other 12 states realized that around 300 people who attended the rally were infected and even a man in Minnesota died.

Noem’s administration defended themselves against accusations of using the federal coronavirus funds for the ads by saying: “We should absolutely be promoting tourism because it is vital to South Dakota’s economy. After agriculture, it is the state’s largest industry.” then added: “That’s how people put food on the table”.

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