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Iowa City mayor issues mask mandate, governor’s office calls it ‘against the law’

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 7:34 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2021 at 7:35 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague announced Thursday he is declaring a civil emergency and has issued a mask mandate for the city.

The mayor said the order came as a result of the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

“We have entered a new phase and the battle with COVID-19 pandemic. The Delta variant has reached our community and as the numbers of positive cases continue to grow we are now also faced with the influx of students arriving in our community from around the world as well as the beginning of a new school year for our local youth,” Teague said.

The mayor said the mandate would require masks are used when in a public setting including retail businesses, restaurants and bars, public school buildings, government buildings, and other locations. It also states masks must be worn outside if social distancing is not possible. -CLICK HERE TO READ THE ORDER-

Thursday’s announcement comes after a state law passed in May prohibited school districts, cities and counties from issuing mask mandates. That law, HF 847, states “A city shall not adopt an ordinance, motion, resolution, or amendment, or use any other means, that requires the owner of real property to implement a policy relating to the use of facial coverings that is more stringent than a policy imposed by the state.”

Teague said the new mask mandate applies to people, not property owners.

In a statement to KCRG-TV9 Thursday, the governor’s office said the mandate is against the law.

“It’s against the law and it’s not enforceable,” said Pat Garrett, spokesperson for Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “Covid-19 has been around for over a year, Iowans know how to protect themselves and their families.”

The order also includes University of Iowa academic buildings and business offices.

“As a state agency, we are expected to comply with state law and our governing body, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa,” the University of Iowa said in a statement following Teague’s announcement.

The mask mandate continues until September 30th unless extended.

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