Advertisement

Iowa City and Coralville lift their mask mandates


Malcolm MacDougall/Little Village

Iowa City and Coralville announced on Tuesday an end to their city-wide mask mandates. In written statements, both cities cited the revised guidance issued by the CDC last week stating that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or engage in social distancing even while indoors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance,” according to the agency.

The federal government still mandates the use of masks on public transportation, so people riding city buses will still be required to cover their faces.

People not yet fully vaccinated are still encouraged to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

“I am grateful for the vaccine and the patience and precautions that our community demonstrated during the challenges we endured over the last year,” Coralville Mayor John Lundell said in the statement announcing the removal of his city’s mask mandate. “I look forward to resuming activities with friends and family and encourage others to continue to be responsible and become vaccinated so our progress against COVID-19 continues.”

In its statement, Iowa City noted that COVID-19 vaccines are still not approved for children below the age of 12, and the use of the Pfizer vaccine for those 12 to 15 was only approved last week. Therefore, “the CDC and the City recommend that all facilities and events featuring a large K-12 audience should maintain their current mask-wearing and social distancing practices.”

Iowa City also recommended that anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask continue to do so.

“Residents should respect the policies of businesses, hospitals and medical facilities, and events that may require mask-wearing,” according to the city’s statement. “The individual choices of residents to wear masks should also be respected, as many Iowa City residents wore masks in public before the City’s mask mandate.”

Cedar Rapids largely eliminated its mask mandate on Friday, although masks will still be required in the city’s public library, and because of the federal mandate, on public transportation.

Mayor Bruce Teague issued Iowa City’s mask mandate in July, as the number of new cases of the virus in Johnson County were spiking. Teague acted after Gov. Kim Reynolds repeatedly refused requests from local officials to issue a statewide mask mandate or allow local governments to do so.

Coralville issued its mask mandate on Nov. 14. Two days later, Reynolds introduced a limited statewide mask mandate, explaining in a televised address, “the pandemic in Iowa is worse than it’s ever been.”

The governor rescinded her mandate in February. Notably, Reynolds did not consult the Iowa Department of Public Health before deciding to remove the limited statewide mask mandate.

SIGN UP TODAY

Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village

SUBSCRIBE

As state and local governments have revising their mask policies to reflect the new guidance from the CDC, businesses have begun dropping face covering requirements. On Tuesday, Hy-Vee announced it has eliminated its company policy requiring face masks, and customers and employees who are fully vaccinated may go maskless if local ordinances permit it.

The CDC considers a person to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of vaccine.

When announcing the revised guidance on May 13, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the change in masking recommendations was based “on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads.”

Walensky did caution that the situation may change depending on the success of vaccination efforts or changes in the virus.

“This past year has shown us that this virus can be unpredictable,” she said.

As of Tuesday, approximately 50 percent of Johnson County residents were fully vaccinated, according to IDPH.


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

IT’S LITTLE VILLAGE’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY.

Join us at the Little Village HQ open house July 20

RSVP
Become a sustaining member or make a one-time contribution:

Support

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.