CORONAVIRUS

Linn Supervisors and Board of Health to discuss mask mandate proclamation at joint meeting Wednesday

The proclamation draft calls on Gov. Reynolds to allow for local control to issue enforceable coronavirus restrictions.

(Dreamstime/TNS)
(Dreamstime/TNS)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County supervisors have drafted a proclamation calling on Gov. Kim Reynolds to allow local control and enforcement, so local officials can make face coverings mandatory.

The supervisors plan to discuss the draft during their work session at 11 a.m. Monday.

The supervisors also intend to hold a joint meeting with the Linn County Board of Health at 11 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the proclamation, said Joi Alexander, Linn County communications director.

The county oes not have the authority to issue an enforceable mask mandate and so is going the proclamation route.

The draft document calls for Reynolds to modify the state’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency to “enable local county and municipal jurisdictions to enact localized responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as legally enforceable restrictions on the activity and actions of persons who do not wear face coverings when the use of such face coverings may protect lives and public health.”

The wording could be changed during discussions next week.

The county is hoping to acquire signatures from the mayors of cities within Linn County. The Gazette has confirmed that Cedar Rapids and Marion intend to back the proclamation.

Iowa City and Muscatine mayors have issued mask mandates, though Reynolds has said city mandates are invalid and in conflict with her statewide COVID-19 proclamations. Last week, Johnson County supervisors backed a face mask mandate but acknowledged it was not enforceable.

On Tuesday night, the North Liberty City Council unanimously adopted a face mask resolution, asking residents to wear face coverings in public and to exercise social distancing, though it is not mandated.

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Medical groups have sent letters to Reynolds, urging a statewide mask mandate, given the spike in new cases and the rate of positive tests.

The Iowa chapter of the American College of Physicians sent the governor a statement Thursday and on Wednesday hundreds of Iowa doctors sent Reynolds a letter urging the governor to require masks across Iowa.

During her news conference Thursday, Reynolds defended her choice of not issuing a mask mandate, saying some disagree with the science and that a mandate would be hard to enforce. She added she believes Iowans are wearing face masks anyway.

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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