Johnson County extends public health disaster emergency to May, approves raise in recommended minimum wage

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved measures to extend the public health emergency until May 31 and to raise the county minimum wage at their formal meeting Thursday.


Grace Colton

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is seen at a public forum for the 2020 fiscal year budget at the Johnson County Administration Building on Wednesday February 27 2019.

Marco Oceguera, News Reporter

A public health disaster emergency declaration in Johnson County has been extended by county officials and will now remain in effect until at least May 31.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors first declared a public health disaster emergency on March 18, 2020 in response to the spread of COVID-19. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted many mask-wearing and social distancing requirements in Iowa in February, though Iowa City and Johnson County have still issued a mask mandate for buildings indoors. 

The supervisors also recommended minimum wage will also rise 12 cents to $10.75 on July 1, 2021.

After former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s signed into law a 2017 bill that prohibited counties and cities in Iowa from setting their own minimum wages, the Johnson County minimum wage is unenforceable and serves only as a recommendation to local businesses. 

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved both the symbolic wage hike and the public health disaster proclamation extension.