Mask Mandate in effect in Iowa, proclamation reaching its final days


Photo taken by Kaitlyn Richardson, pictured Ella Zaborsky

Masks seem to have become the new normal for many, as coronavirus cases continue to rise. 

As of Nov. 17 all people over the age of two must wear a mask when inside any public location, where they are within six feet of people not from their household for longer than 15 minutes. The initial proclamation is to remain in effect until the end of the day on Dec. 10.

There are exceptions written in the proclamation, including health conditions preventing the ability to wear a mask, athletics, when consuming food or drink, when giving a religious or other presentation, and many others. These details can be found in section four of the official Public Health Proclamation. 

Many feel that this mask mandate took too long to come into effect, while others feel it wasn’t necessary in the first place.  As of Dec. 2, the state of Iowa has had 236,000 coronavirus cases reported, and 2,518 deaths from the virus reported. 

Still, no matter the proclamations put in place there will still be those trying to argue the point and not wear a mask. Junior Kenna Rethmeir feels that the mask mandate should be fully enforced and acted upon. 

“It’s not somebody’s fault for getting covid if they’re having to sit right next to somebody that doesn’t want to wear a mask,” Rethmeir says. “It’s not fair to everybody else.”

For similar reasons, junior Grace Ozzello was glad to hear that mask mandate was being put into place. 

“I think it’s a good thing,” Ozzello said. “Masks have been proven to stop the spread of Covid-19 they keep it from entering the air space. If you remain six feet apart as well as a mask mandate you can pretty much eliminate the spread of the virus in public places.”

One of many places being affected by the mask mandate is retail establishments. Rethmeier currently works at Vanity Fair Outlets in Council Bluffs and has had the task of asking customers to wear masks, even before the statewide mandate came into effect.

“We require masks and there are a lot of people that fight it and half the time they’ll come in and we’ll say well, ‘we can offer you before or after hours shopping or we can do curbside pick up’,” Reithmeier said. “They still fight it so half the time they just turn around and leave. We’ve never had to provide those options because they just want to fight it.” 

Vanity Fair offers customers the option of making an appointment before or after hours where they can shop without a mask, as they will be the only one in the store. 

There is debate on whether masks should be required in schools as well, due to health conditions and other complications. Ozzello feels they should be required in school buildings. 

“I think that kids are just as irresponsible,” Ozzello said. “If you’re not wearing it, it’s going to spread quickly through the schools because kids are together and they are always crowded into classrooms and things like that so it’s going to spread quickly if you don’t do that.”