The battle over masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 rages on. Locally, officials encourage wearing of masks in public, but are not mandating that it be done. Winnebago and Hancock County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Buffington is one who encourages the use of masking in public.
In a recent KIOW.com News Poll, 72% stated that they would rather that masks be encouraged while 28% viewed that masks should be mandatory. Now a coalition of health groups led by the Iowa Medical Society have sent Governor Kim Reynolds a letter, urging her to issue a statewide face mask mandate.
That’s Dennis Tibben. He is director of external affairs for the Iowa Medical Society. He says 15 groups representing 12,000 health care providers signed onto the letter.
The groups say widespread use of face coverings will slow the spread of the virus and save lives. Governor Reynolds has encouraged Iowans to “mask up,” but has resisted a statewide mandate. She herself and Lt. Governor Gregg masked up on a recent trip to Kanawha.
Governor Reynolds and Attorney General Tom Miller have advised local government officials they may require face masks in city and county facilities, but lack the authority to issue mask mandates on a city-wide or county-wide basis.
Buffington maintains that if it becomes proven or necessary to mandate mask wearing at all times in public, that it should be done. Otherwise, mandating is not necessary.
Currently, no city or county in the area is mandating the wearing of masks, however several local businesses are asking that a mask be worn at all times in their store.