DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Falls approved a mask mandate Tuesday, joining with other Iowa cities that have taken similar moves as the state continues to see high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Cedar Falls joins Ames, Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Mount Vernon, Muscatine and Waterloo in enacting mask requirements. Enforcement of the rules vary but are primarily focused on education, with police in some communities instructed to hand out masks to those not wearing them.
The requirements come as the state on Wednesday reported 478 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. There were 12 additional deaths, raising the total to 1,185 who have died of the virus in Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has declined to approve a statewide mask order because she said it would be impossible to enforce. Reynolds has told local jurisdictions that because she hasn't issued an order, they don't have the authority to enforce their mask mandates.
In Cedar Falls, the mask rule takes effect immediately and will last for six weeks. It requires masks for people older than 5 while in indoor public places, including businesses, and outdoors when it's not possible to maintain a distance of 6 feet.
The Cedar Falls City Council approved the rule on a 4 to 3 vote.
“To me, this is a health-care crisis, and we are addressing a health-care crisis,” council member Kelly Dunn said.
Those opposed to the move favored a strong recommendation rather than a mandate.