PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem is using COVID-19 restrictions in other states to lure businesses to relocate to South Dakota.

In an online ad, Noem tells business owners to “grow their company” in South Dakota where government will stay out of their way.

“When it comes to supporting growth and eliminating government heavy-handed interference, South Dakota means business,” Noem said in the ad from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

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The Republican governor says Minnesota’s COVID-19-related restrictions, including a mandate to wear face masks in public buildings, has created an opportunity for businesses there to cross the border to South Dakota.

Noem says in South Dakota, people’s individual rights are respected and businesses won’t be shut down.

Noem has taken a relaxed approach to the pandemic. Even as Republican governors in states like Texas have moved to require people to wear masks, Noem didn’t require physical distancing or masks at the July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Donald Trump attended.

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