Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart has modified the city’s mask mandate to align with the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except for when they are in a crowded outdoor setting or venue. Under the city’s mandate, individuals who are in an outdoor setting with 50 or more people will still be required to wear a mask.
Fully vaccinated people can also take off their masks indoors when visiting with other fully vaccinated individuals, according to the CDC. This guidance is also included in the updated proclamation that was made public on Monday.
“These changes are a positive step, but it is not the time to let down our guard,” Hart said in a news release. “I encourage everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible because we cannot afford to take a step backward in this fight against the COVID virus.”
Hart was among the Iowa mayors who issued a mask mandate last year as cases were spiking across the state.
Gov. Kim Reynolds and Attorney General Tom Miller said local governments don’t have the authority to create such mandates, but a number of cities in the state — including Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Des Moines — did so anyway in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
In the statement, Hart said the city hopes to end the mandate “very soon” but did not indicate when that would be. Hart told the Gazette he will continue to seek input from Linn County Public Health.