Cedar Rapids mayor urges wearing face masks in public

Heidi Miller (left) works with Emmaly Renshaw, both of Cedar Rapids, to load food into the trunk of a vehicle during a H
Heidi Miller (left) works with Emmaly Renshaw, both of Cedar Rapids, to load food into the trunk of a vehicle during a Hawkeye Area Community Action Plan food reservoir pop-up, drive-through food pantry in the parking lot of Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on April 9. Both are wearing face masks. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart on Monday urged everyone in his community to wear cloth face masks in public to slow the spread of coronavirus,

This is particularly important in retail settings such as grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies, he said. The recommendation is in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also advises face masks in public, he noted.

“Now is a critical time for our community to step up and slow the spread,” Hart said during a Monday news conference. “To do that we are urging everyone in our community to wear a cloth face covering whenever they are in public, if you are outside your home, you’re outside your car or when social distancing is difficult to ensure.”

Linn County continues to lead the state in cases and deaths from COVID-19, prompting Hart to urge the public to step up and set examples for one another. Failing to do so could put friends, family, co-workers and the community as a whole at risk, he said.

“I am certain many of the cases we have now have come from people who didn’t seem sick, but were still spreading the virus to others,” he said.

Hart has become one of Iowa’s more vocal political leaders pushing for preventive measures often times stronger than state guidance.

He had been rebuffed in calling for a statewide stay-at-home order and explored enacting a local order. He threatened bars could lose their liquor licenses if they did not abide by orders not to serve drinks.


The city is working to make certain all employees who need a mask have one through volunteer efforts. Hawkeye Area Community Action Program is seeking donations of masks to distribute with food donations, he said.

Masks can be made at home from a variety of household materials such as T-shirts, scarves and bandannas, Hart said. They should not be placed on children under age 2.

“I am really asking everyone to commit not to go out to these public places without a mask,” he said.

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