State Watch

Iowa governor says cities can’t require masks

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Tuesday said city and county officials do not have the authority to require residents to wear masks in public. 

“We don’t believe that they can and that is in conjunction with the attorney general,” Reynolds said during a press conference, when asked about county and city ordinances mandating mask-wearing. 

“We believe that when my — the public health disaster proclamation is in effect, unless the local government’s declaration or proclamation is consistent with the state proclamation, unless it’s consistent, then it’s not appropriate or it doesn’t go into effect,” she added. 

Reynolds has not ordered a statewide mandatory mask requirement as several other governors have in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced a statewide face covering requirement on Wednesday, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Tuesday he is issuing an order mandating people in counties with high levels of coronavirus spread wear masks. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week issued a statewide mandatory mask order, after he blocked local officials’ authority to enforce face covering requirements.

Reynolds did not rule out the possibility of issuing an order requiring masks, saying that “all things are on the table.”

She also suggested officials may roll back some restrictions, including potentially on when bars are open. She noted that much of the spread of the virus in the state is among younger Iowans. 

As of Wednesday morning, Iowa reported 414 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven new deaths, according to the Des Moines Register.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Face mask Iowa Kim Reynolds
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