CORONAVIRUS

Board of Health to consider Linn County face covering regulation Monday

It calls for their use in public spaces when social distancing isn't possible

(Dreamstime/TNS)
(Dreamstime/TNS)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Board of Health will discuss a proposed face covering regulation at a public hearing Monday as COVID-19 numbers rise in the county, considered a hot spot for the coronavirus.

The hearing will be at noon at the Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Building, 1020 Sixth St. SE.

The proposed regulation calls for people living in or visiting Linn County to wear a face covering when in public and not able to stay 6 feet away from others.

The regulation also calls for face coverings whenever inside any public settings, including grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, retail stores and schools.

The regulation states that the only exemptions are while traveling in a personal vehicle alone or with household members, exercising when following social distancing, eating or drinking while seated at a bar or food establishment, or obtaining a service that would require the removal of a mask, such as dental appointments.

The first offense for not wearing a covering is recommended to be a minimum fine for a simple misdemeanor, according to the proposal. For subsequent offenses, a fine up to the maximum for a simple misdemeanor is recommended.

As of Sunday, Linn County had 11,528 virus cases.

In August, the Linn County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation calling on Gov. Kim Reynolds to allow local control in issuing mask mandates — something she has repeatedly said local officials do not have the legal authority to enact, though many have.

On Tuesday, Reynolds implemented new statewide emergency restrictions, including a mandate to wear masks at large public gatherings.

Her proclamation is in effect for 30 days, which started Wednesday.

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For any such gathering of 10 people or more, there must be 6 feet of social distancing between groups. The groups are limited to eight people, unless members are from the same family.

If indoor events exceed 25 people or an outdoor event exceeds 100 people, all over age 2 must wear a mask except when eating and drinking.

Reynolds said law officers are to “educate and inform” violators of her mask requirement before issuing simple misdemeanor citations.

The Linn County Board of Health will limit in-person attendance at the hearing to a number that allows for adequate social distancing.

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

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