Norfolk City Council passes mask mandate

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) – The Norfolk City Council has unanimously passed a mask mandate for the city.

The city of Norfolk held a special City Council meeting Monday to discuss the emergency ordinance.

After more than two hours of public comment and discussion, the city council passed it with all seven council member voting for it unanimously.

The new mandate requires face coverings to be worn in public by individuals ages five and older. An exception is made for when a person can maintain 6 feet of social distance from anyone who’s not a member of his or her household.

Other exceptions when individuals are not required to wear a mask in public include if a person:

  • is seeking federal, state, or county services
  • is seated at a bar, restaurant, or their seat at an arena to eat or drink, or while immediately consuming food or beverages
  • is engaged in an occupation preventing the wearing of a face covering
  • is obtaining a service or purchasing goods or services that requires the temporary removal of a face covering
  • is asked to remove a face covering to verify an identity for lawful purposes
  • is providing a speech, lecture, or broadcast to an audience as long as six feet of distancing from other individuals can be maintained
  • can’t wear a face covering because of a medical condition, a mental health condition, or a disability that makes it unreasonable for the individual to wear a face covering.

Masks, bandanna, neck gaiter or religious coverings, are regarded as sufficient face coverings.The council also said medical-grade masks and respirators are sufficient face coverings, but to preserve supplies, their purchase and use is discouraged for those who do not work in a health care setting or in other occupations that require medical-grade personal protective equipment. Masks that have a valve designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow droplets to be released in the air.

The council defines the general public are broadly defined to include entities that employ or engage workers, including private-sector entities, public-sector entities, nonprofit entities, regular commercial or business establishments, private clubs, religious centers or public transportation, and any place which is generally open to the public, including educational institutions and daycare facilities.

Any individual or entity which maintains property that are open to the general public,
including but not limited to educational institutions, must post one or more signs that are visible, including workers, customers, and visitors instructing them to wear face coverings as required by this Article.

Those who violate the ordinance will be fined $25. The mandate is effective until February 16, 2021, unless the council approves to end it sooner.

To read the full mandate in the city council agenda, click here.

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