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Dubuque County Board of Health revises county-wide mask mandate resolution

Under the revised resolution, businesses would not have to deny service to those who do not want to wear a mask
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 8:52 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - When you walk into The Pizza Factory in Epworth, the first thing you will see is a sign asking people to wear a mask.

“I would say it is probably 50 to 60 percent come in with a mask,” Karen Koss, owner of the restaurant, said. “And it is getting more and more every day, actually, as cases are kind of increasing here in the county.”

On Thursday, Dubuque County reported 103 new positive COVID-19 cases, but Koss said turning people who do not want to wear a mask away is not something she can afford to do as a business owner in a small town in the middle of a pandemic.

“I would never do that and we cannot afford it to do that,” she expressed. “If you come in and do not have a mask, that is fine. We are not going to turn anybody away.”

Health officials recognize that a county-wide mask mandate could help limit the spread of the virus.

That is why Diane Pape-Freiburger, vice-chair of the Board of Health, said they revisiting the issue and making some changes.

“We changed the enforcement where the business is not required to turn a customer away and turn a sale away as they enter the establishment,” she explained.

The new resolution states that the county would give businesses signage to put on reminding people of the mask mandate. The county will also provide businesses with disposable masks to hand out.

If a customer does not want to wear a mask, then the business owner decides whether or not to serve that customer.

“Some of these establishments, especially out in the rural areas, are being staffed by younger high schoolers maybe in the evening, and we do not want it to get into a legal battle and we also do not want to get into a argument where there could be actually people threatening each other,” Pape-Freiburger mentioned as part of the reason why they changed the resolution.

Pape-Freiburger said the Board of Health has already handed out 14,000 masks to businesses across Dubuque County.

She added that the board can use COVID-19 funds to purchase more masks if the Board of Supervisors issues the mandate.

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