Mount Vernon City Council issues face mask mandate

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 4:59 PM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - Another city in eastern Iowa has decided to issue a facial mask or covering mandate for public spaces, defying the authority that the governor’s office claims to be limited to state officials.

The Mount Vernon City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday that puts into place the mandate immediately. The resolution cited various parts of the Iowa Code that the council says gives it the ability to implement such a rule. It also claims that the “resumption of in-class instruction at Cornell College and the Mount Vernon Community School District in August wil increase the risk of community spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

The resolution requires the use of a facial covering in any public place where a person cannot stay six feet apart, including businesses, locations that are not a person’s place of residence when around others who they do not live with, and outside spaces where social distancing is impossible. Those using public transportation, or a private ride-for-hire service, will also need to wear masks.

Exemptions are laid out for children under the age of 2, those who have breathing issues or use oxygen or a ventilator, those who cannot remove a facial covering without assistance, public safety personnel like firefighters and police. Those that have “been told by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional not to wear a face covering” are also exempt.

Mount Vernon joins other cities like Iowa City or Muscatine, among others, who have issued the mandate despite Gov. Kim Reynolds’ claim that she solely possesses the authority to issue the requirement. Reynolds has encouraged Iowans to wear masks in public but has pushed back against calls to make it mandatory.

The full text of the resolution is available on the city’s website.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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