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Lee County fails to pass mask mandate

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LEE COUNTY, Iowa (WGEM) -- Lee County's mask mandate ordinance failed to pass the at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.

Supervisor Rick Larkin motioned to pass the mandate but his motion did not receive a second and died.

Supervisors say they're not surprised about the outcome.

"There was so much pressure coming from the public opposing this," board chairman Ron Fedler said. "I was even getting phone calls at seven o'clock this morning."

During the meeting, most of the supervisors voiced concerns with the mandate, with a number of them citing the fact the Lee County's positivity rate has gone down substantially over the past couple of weeks.

"People still insisting that they wanted the freedom of choice and not be mandated by law and I felt we should give the residents of the county more credit for what they want," Fedler said.

County law enforcement officials also voiced their disapproval of the mandate.

Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber said he did not believe the mandate could be enforced.

County attorney Ross Braden argued due to the initial shutdown of Iowa's court system, his office is already bogged down with a backlog of cases and doesn't have the manpower to deal with an abundance of cases that could stem from mandate violations.

Of the board's five members only Rick Larkin was in favor of the mandate.

"We needed something to help people so they don't come down with this virus and the easiest, most convenient way we had was a mandatory mask thing," he said.

Local health officials said mandate or not, people should still be washing their hands, socially distancing and wearing facemasks.

Lee County leaders to rule on mask mandate

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Blake Sammann

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

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