IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP/KCAU) — Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague is ordering people to wear masks in public to stop the spread of the coronavirus, defying Gov. Kim Reynolds’ claim that cities cannot mandate face coverings.
Iowa has been one of the only states that does not have any enforceable local or state mask mandates.
The Republican governor has said that she believes cities and counties can require masks only if she grants that authority, which she’s refused to do.
But the Iowa City Mayor on Tuesday cited authority granted to cities in the state constitution and a law that gives mayors the power to govern by proclamation when an “emergency or public danger exists.”
Mayor Teague issued an order that every person in the City of Iowa City must wear a face covering when in a public place.
The order, which was announced on Tuesday, states a face covering that covers the nose and mouth, must be worn in every public area.
Those areas include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Grocery stores
- Hardware stores
- Retail stores
- Other public settings that are not someone’s place of residence and when with people who don’t live in the household
- Outside, if keeping six feet away from others is not possible
- Public transportation or private car service (including taxis, ride share, or car pooling)
He said no business that’s open to the public may provide service to a customer or allow the individual to enter without that person wearing a face covering.
Businesses must also post signs at the entrance of their locations to tell customers of the legal obligation to wear a face covering.
The mayor adds that masks will also be mandated outside if the six feet of social distancing requirement isn’t possible when around other people.
The following places and times where people are exempt from wearing a face covering include:
- When alone or in the presence of only household members
- Traveling in personal vehicle alone or with household members
- When exercising at moderate or high intensity e.g. jogging or biking outside
- While seated at a food restaurant in the process of eating or drinking
- While obtaining a service that requires temporary removal or face coverings, such as a dentist or doctor visit
- When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face covering or requires the removal of the face covering
The exemptions to the mask mandate are:
- Children that are two-years-old or younger due to the risk of suffocation
- Anyone with trouble breathing, on oxygen, or ventilator
- Anyone who’s unconscious, incapacitated, or others unable to remove a face covering without assistance
- Anyone who has been told by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional not to wear a face covering
- Anyone actively engaged on a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency response personnel
Mayor Teague said that anyone that violates the mandate will be charged with a simple misdemeanor.
In the order that was released on Tuesday, it mentions the mandate is set to expire on September 15.
To read the full order in its entirety, click here.