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Dubuque City Council issues mask mandate

The Dubuque Police Department will start enforcing on Monday
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 11:00 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The Dubuque City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance requiring face coverings in indoor public places.

The Dubuque Police Department will start enforcing the mandate on Monday. Violations will be processed with a $10 fine that would increase to $15 after 30 days unpaid.

City Council member Brad Cavanagh said it is time for them go challenge Governor Kim Reynolds and take matters into their own hands. Cavanagh said they are concerned after the number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Dubuque. The mandate comes after the White House Coronavirus Task Force named Dubuque as a “red zone” for the spread of the virus.

Cavanagh said it is better to act now than to regret it later.

“We have students going back to school in a couple of weeks, and we have college students returning to town,” he mentioned. “I am just concerned that with everybody coming in and gathering more and then closing the door as soon as it gets cold we are going to have real struggles keeping this under control if we cannot control it in the middle of the summer.”

He said the council is taking these steps to prevent the spread before any drastic measures need to be taken.

“What I really want to avoid is a complete shutdown of our economy again in any way, shape, or form,” he said. “We really cannot get to a point where that happens again, so whatever steps we can take to mitigate risks right now I think are very important steps to take.”

City council members decided to forego another ordinance that would require bars, restaurants, and gyms to limit capacity to 50 percent.

John Oglesby, who owns First & Main in Downtown Dubuque, said a measure like this would have been devastating.

“We will make it if they do that,” he said. “Unless you have a lot of money set aside, but us, we would not make it if that happens again.”

The amended ordinance states that everyone in the city three years of age or older must wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth.

Face coverings will be required in the following locations:

  • Outside whenever one cannot stay at least six feet away from others.
  • Inside any indoor public setting, for example, but not limited to:
  • Grocery stores.
  • Pharmacies.
  • Hardware stores.
  • Retail stores.
  • Any other indoor public setting when with persons who do not live in the person’s household.
  • When using public transportation or a private car service, including taxis, ride sharing, or carpooling.

Locations where face coverings are not required include:

  • While traveling in a personal vehicle alone or with household members.
  • While a person is alone or in the presence of only household members.
  • While outside, if keeping six feet away from others is possible.
  • While exercising at moderate or high intensity, such as jogging or biking.
  • While seated at a food establishment in the process of eating or drinking.
  • While obtaining a service that would require temporary removal of the person’s face covering.
  • When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face covering or requires the removal of the face covering.

Exceptions to the face covering requirement are for the following:

  • Persons two years of age and younger.
  • Anyone who has difficulty breathing or is on oxygen therapy or a ventilator.
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
  • Anyone who has been told by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings.
  • Anyone actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel, although a face covering should be worn if possible.
  • A student participating in co-curricular activities when participating according to the Iowa High School Athletic Association rules for wearing face coverings.

See the full ordinance here.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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