CORONAVIRUS

North Liberty urges residents to wear face masks, calls on businesses to adopt mask policies

AP Illustration of masks by Peter Hamlin
AP Illustration of masks by Peter Hamlin

NORTH LIBERTY — North Liberty is calling on its residents to mask up when in public.

During its meeting Tuesday night, the North Liberty City Council unanimously adopted a face mask resolution asking those in the city to wear face coverings while in public and to social distance. North Liberty businesses also are called upon to adopt mask policies.

“Reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is critical to our schools’ reopenings, our businesses’ recoveries and our community’s health,” the city said in a news release announcing the measure. “Face coverings keep transmission low, prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our community members who are vulnerable.”

Iowa City, Coralville and Johnson County also have called on citizens to wear masks in public. To date, only Iowa City’s mask mandate comes with a potential fine for non-compliance. However, Johnson County — whose Board of Supervisors does not have the same authority as mayors — is taking the steps to also enact a measure that would be punishable with fines.

North Liberty Communications Director Nick Bergus said the city was not interested in gaining compliance through punitive measures.

“The goal is to encourage masks in our community to save lives, help businesses recover, help schools reopen and keep our community healthy, not … to fine or arrest folks,” Bergus said. “This is about education, not enforcement.”

The measure is effective immediately and asks that citizens wear a cloth mask or face shield in indoor public settings when social distancing is not possible indoors or outdoors, and when using public or shared transportation.

On Monday, coalitions representing thousands of Iowa’s health care providers sent a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds asking her to issue a statewide face mask mandate for all Iowans.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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