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Businesses and schools mixed on requiring masks after CDC guidance

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 7:32 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Coralville ended its mask mandate on Tuesday for people who are fully vaccinated. That’s the same change Cedar Rapids and Waterloo made on Friday.

But as those city mask mandates disappear, businesses and schools are left to create their own mask policies. The result is different mask policies in different stores and places across the state.

Hy-Vee announced on Tuesday it will no longer require masks for fully vaccinated customers, except when required by local ordinances. Target made a similar announcement on Monday.

But some small businesses will still require masks for customers inside their stores. Goldfinch Cyclery, a bike shop in Newbo, is one of those stores. Logan Orcutt, who is a co-owner of the shop said, he’s excited about the idea of ending COVID-19 policies.

But, said he’s not ending policies just yet because the store has a smaller space than big box stores and people haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet.

“I think in time we can all relax that,” Orcutt said. “But, right now there are people in our community that can’t, don’t have access to a vaccination. And we want to make sure they feel comfortable here too.”

Other small businesses are changing their mask policies slightly. Balloons, Etc. and The Costume Emporium, which is in downtown Cedar Rapids, said it will let customers choose to wear a mask. Then, staff will follow the customer.

Jacob Gowger, who is the owner of Ballons, Etc. and The Costume Emporium, called mask policies a catch-22 where you can’t satisfy everyone.

“It’s really hard,” he said. “We really do try to please everybody. But, we want everyone to feel safe.”

Schools are also using different mask policies.

TV9 reported masks are optional in the Center Point-Urbana school district on Monday. The school board made that announcement on Sunday, following a special session, saying the new guidance is in line with the new recommendation from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

While the Cedar Rapids Community School District on Tuesday announced it will maintain its mask mandate through the end of the school year.

Superintendent Noreen Bush said it will keep the mask requirement because the school year is almost over and people younger than 12-years-old can’t get vaccinated.

“We have 13 remaining school days, and we strive to create a smooth transition to the end of the educational school year,” Superintendent Noreen Bush wrote in a letter addressed to families. “Additionally, our students are largely unvaccinated at this point, as the 12+ aged vaccination process has only recently begun.”

The district will also maintain its mask-wearing protocol for teachers and students during summer school and when engaging in summer programming.

Superintendent Noreen Bush said the district plans to make an announcement about the upcoming school year this summer.

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