Some Cedar Rapids businesses still keeping mask requirements in place after city loosens mandate

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - While the City of Cedar Rapids relaxed part of its mask mandate Monday, some businesses in the city will still require employees and customers to mask up inside.

The sign on the front door of Raygun in the NewBo District makes its stance clear, reading, “Masks still required for the community’s safety.”

“Masks are still going to be fully required as soon as you step in the door, preferably before you come in the door,” Shiara Nivana, the store’s manager, said.

The loosened mandate, signed by Mayor Brad Hart on Monday, no longer requires people who are fully vaccinated to wear masks indoors, as long as the people they are around are also fully vaccinated.

Nivana said not all of their employees fall into that category, and not all of their customers may either.

“We’re just going to keep everyone safe because also, it’s none of our business if people choose to vaccinate or if they decide not to,” Nivana said.

New Pioneer Food Co-Op said masks are still required for everyone in its Cedar Rapids store, as well as its Iowa City and Coralville locations. Target and Walmart both have mask requirements in all their stores too.

“Businesses can absolutely still require their employees and their customers to wear masks because you don’t know that [people are vaccinated],” Hart said.

Hart said he signed the changes to the Cedar Rapids mandate to mirror the recent update in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors, as long as they are not in crowded settings of more than 50 people where social distancing is not possible.

The mayor said he didn’t think there was any reason for the city to keep its mask mandate more restrictive than CDC guidelines. But he would consider putting the full mandate back in place again if the local positivity rate and death numbers rose.

“We really cannot afford to go backwards with this, so people — if you’re not around people you know are fully vaccinated, wear your masks. Continue to follow all the CDC guidelines, and together, we’ll get through this much more quickly than if we don’t do those things,” Hart said.

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