President Donald Trump meets at the White House with a group of governors-elect on December 13, 2018. New South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is seated to Trump's left. File Photo by Chris Kleponis | License Photo
Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Officials in South Dakota say $400,000 will be spent to put a security fence around of Gov. Kristi Noem's mansion in the coming months, but the reason for the barrier hasn't been specified.
Senior adviser Maggie Seidel said the fence will be built this fall around the governor's mansion and added that getting the barrier built is a priority.
"It's no secret that a few individuals don't like some of the decisions the governor has made on behalf of the people of South Dakota during [the COVID-19] pandemic and otherwise," Seidel added.
"The governor's security team believes it is critical," she added.
Noem has drawn criticism for opting against stay-home orders and has not mandated face coverings in public or for students returning to classes this fall.
To date, there have been fewer than 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 150 deaths in South Dakota. According to CDC data, only nine other states have had fewer cases.
Critics say the Republican governor as adopted a dismissive outlook on the pandemic, similar to President Donald Trump's.
Noem, who took office in 2019, welcomed Trump to South Dakota last month when the president visited Mount Rushmore for the Fourth of July weekend. A television broadcast of fireworks at Mount Rushmore showed some attendees not complying with distancing recommendations.
Seidel said a private fundraising campaign and federal security grant will pay for the security fence. The governor's mansion in Pierre was built during the administration of Gov. Mike Rounds in the 2000s.
The project has been in the planning stage since last year, and a contractor was paid more than $35,000 to draw up the plan.