116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Linn County rescinded its mask mandate Monday, effectively immediately.
During the Linn County Board of Supervisors’ work session, the board ultimately approved to get rid of its countywide mask mandate in light of the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention’s most recent guidelines about face coverings.
Masks will continue to be required on public transportation as required by federal law. Local businesses and private owners still may require customers to wear masks, as well.
The resolution was approved 2-1, with Supervisor Stacey Walker opposing.
Walker said he had gone “back and forth” on the decision.
“We as policymakers … whose first priority ought to be the safety of residents, we have a responsibility to do what we can to encourage good public practice,” Walker said.
“When I take that in consideration, it’s hard for me to vote in favor of this matter, but I certainly understand where my colleagues are coming from. I will respect the decision of this board.”
Walker added, however, that he will encourage Linn County residents to continue to wear masks.
“If you are going to be around people who you are not sure who are vaccinated, if you are not vaccinated, wearing a mask is one of the simplest, easiest things we can do to demonstrate care and concern for our neighbors,” Walker said.
“We are not out of this pandemic, and Linn County has not reached the vaccination rate for herd immunity.”
Mask mandate for workers in county buildings rescinded
Additionally, the board also voted to remove the county’s mask mandate for county employees in county buildings. That policy went into effect last June.
Again, the board voted 2-1 with Walker opposing, making the policy effective immediately Monday.
Linn County buildings are scheduled to open back up to the public on June 7, as well.
“I believe people should be responsible for themselves,” Supervisor Louie Zumbach said. “It just makes sense to rescind both and expect people to be personally responsible.”
Walker said that safety of county staff was his top concern and why he opposed rescinding the policy.
“I know there are individuals in this building who can’t get vaccinated, or still in the process of getting vaccinated,” Walker said. “I would hate to have on my conscience … the possibility of one of our staff being harmed by that. We have a responsibility to our staff to keep them safe.”
Supervisor Ben Rogers, who voted with Zumbach to rescind both policies, said he will continue to wear a mask when he feels the need to.
“Since CDC guidelines have come out, I have worn a mask whenever I go to a grocery store or restaurant,” he said. “It’s just sort of ingrained in my behavior. This will be an exercise in trust, and it will be a very challenging exercise in trust.”
Last week, Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart ended the city’s mask mandate and said local governments should retain control over decisions affecting to curb COVID-19 transmission.
Cedar Rapids Transit still requires masks be worn in compliance with federal law.
Iowa City and Coralville mayors also lifted their cities’ mask mandates entirely last week but urged unvaccinated people to keep wearing masks.
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