116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Mayor Brad Hart on Friday again eased the city’s mask mandate, effectively repealing the order for fully vaccinated people based on recent changes to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on curbing the spread of COVID-19.
The modified CDC guidelines and city mask mandate advise that fully vaccinated people may take off masks while indoors and resume most pre-pandemic activities without physically distancing. Masks still should be worn on public transit and in certain other crowded indoor settings, the CDC recommends.
These changes are in addition to other recent updated guidance that fully vaccinated people may gather or conduct activities outdoors without masks. Hart on May 3 modified the city’s mask mandate in line with those revisions.
Federal, state, local, tribal or territorial regulations on mask wearing, including local business and workplace guidance, still apply, according to a city news release.
“Again, I want to thank all those who have followed the COVID-19 guidelines, including wearing masks all these months, and those who have been vaccinated,” Hart said in the news release. “This is yet another reason to be vaccinated as soon as possible.”
City transit COVID-19 protocols will remain in effect, as required by federal law. The Cedar Rapids Public Library also will continue to require masks.
Businesses still may opt to require masks within their locations. The city asks that patrons abide by those requirements “as local businesses continue to work to keep their customers and employees safe and healthy.”
Mayors of several Iowa cities, including Des Moines and Iowa City, last summer implemented their own mask mandates to push back on state officials' stances that local governments lack legal authority to issue such mandates.
Cedar Rapids officials have focused the proclamation on education rather than enforcement and issuing citations for those not wearing masks.
Hart told The Gazette the city’s mandate is intended to be flexible with the CDC’s guidance and with the status of COVID-19 transmission levels in Linn County.
“If there’s a spike here, we may have to take a step backwards,” Hart said. “Hopefully, that won’t be the case.”
No changes have been announced yet to the mask mandates in Iowa City or in Linn and Johnson counties.
But Kaitlin Emrich, the Linn County Public Health assessment and health promotion supervisor, said in an email that county Public Health “is reviewing CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated people and will make a recommendation on any changes needed to current prevention methods” on May 17.
The city of Iowa City issued a news release Friday stating that it “plans to issue updated guidance on local COVID-19 recommendations.”
According to the news release, the city will provide an update by May 19 after working with area public health officials to review the CDC guidance.
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