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Lee County leaders to rule on mask mandate

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Lee County Mask Mandate

LEE COUNTY, Iowa (WGEM) -- The Lee County Board of Supervisors will vote whether to approve the Tri-State's first mask mandate at their meeting Tuesday morning.

If it passes, all Lee County residents will be required to wear a mask when they're in public.

"The mask is really what we're wanting people to wear when they're in public places like restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, when you're outside of your own home and around people," public health administrator Michelle Ross said.

But she said there are some exceptions.

"If you're under age two, or if you have trouble breathing if you're oxygen dependent," Ross said.

Enforcement has been a big sticking point.

Ross said it'll be up to law enforcement whether or not to enforce.

"The language has been changed from 'shall' to 'may' so, they may enforce a simple misdemeanor," she said.

County officials said the measure has been getting a lot of attention from the community.

"The board has been receiving a lot of emails and calls on this and they're taking it all to heart," auditor Denise Fraise said.

Last weekend, a group of marchers voiced their opposition outside the home of supervisor Gary Folluo.

Officials said the public will get the chance to share their views before the board votes.

"I think Mr. Fedler is going to limit each speaker to two minutes so that way it won't go too long," Fraise said.

Ross said whether the mandate passes or not, the county's numbers are going in the right direction and they'd like to see that continue.

"That changes a lot for our long term care facilities, our schools and their return to learn plans," she said.

As for the expiration date, the mandate says it will expire when Governor Kim Reynolds' disaster proclamation expires or when the Lee County Board of Public Health determines COVID is no longer a danger in the county, whichever of those comes first.

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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