Iowa City mask mandate extended indefinitely

Masks will continue to be required in all indoor buildings.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague encourages people to vote during a rally for voting rights at the Pentacrest on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.

Meg Doster, News Reporter

Mayor Bruce Teague is extending Iowa City’s mask mandate indefinitely.

This extended order requires that all people over the age of two must wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The extended mask mandate started on Aug. 19, 2021 with its extension going to affect 12:01 am Thursday Sept. 30.

According to the New York Times’s coronavirus tracker, the state of Iowa had 4,485 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Sept. 25 and that the number of new cases has been steadily rising since July.

Johnson County is experiencing a high level of COVID-19 transmission, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Data Tracker said. 

A state law from May prohibits cities and local governments from compelling businesses to require masks indoors. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ former spokesperson called Iowa City’s order against the law and unenforceable

In an interview with The Daily Iowan in August, Iowa City Councilor Janice Weiner said that because the order pertains to individuals and not businesses, the city believes it’s legal.

Masks will be mandatory for anyone in any and all public indoor spaces including but not limited to:      

  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Hardware stores
  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Public school buildings
  • Government buildings
  • University of Iowa academic buildings and business offices
  • Houses of worship
  • Movie theaters

When the mandate was initially announced, UI spokesperson Jeneane Beck said the UI would continue to follow state law. Masks are not required at UI buildings, according to UI and state Board of Regents policy.

“As a state agency, we are expected to comply with state law and our governing body, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa,” Beck wrote in an email to the DI.

Masks are not required outdoors or in private residences because of the expectation that people can keep a distance of 6 feet.

Masks are also mandatory inside public transport or inside transportation obtained through ridesharing, in line with federal law.

People who are exempt from the mask mandate are people below the age of two-years-old, anyone who has trouble breathing or is on a ventilator, those who are incapitated/unconscious, and anyone serving in an active public safety role. 

People are allowed to remove facial coverings while eating, exercising, and while receiving a service that requires the temporary removal of face coverings.

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