No more masks? Many still plan to cover up

HOWARD COUNTY - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted the partial mask mandate, restrictions on businesses and limits on public gatherings, which took effect on Sunday, Feb. 7.
It is like the governor just ripped the bandaid off after having nearly a year of restrictions on social distancing, wearing masks and limiting businesses to a percentage of their capacity.
Reynolds did encourage vulnerable Iowans — those 65 or older or with serious health concerns — to stay vigilant and limit activities outside the home. In addition, healthy Iowans were asked to limit their interactions with vulnerable individuals. This proclamation will expire on March 7, 2021 or terminated or extended in writing by Reynolds.
Several large cities around the state have not suspended their mask mandate and are continuing with the previous proclamation. 
Individual governmental bodies and businesses are also making their own decisions on how to deal with the mandate. 
• At the Howard County Courthouse, including the Law Enforcement Center, the Board of Supervisors said they would be staying with the same policy of highly recommending the use of masks.
• The same is true of Cresco City Hall, which is open to customers, but officials encourage the use of the dropbox and to call with questions. Employees will greet patrons with masks and encourage them to wear them as well.
• Supt. Ted Ihns of Howard-Winneshiek CSD explained the district will still require wearing a mask. 
At the beginning of the school year, the district did not require wearing masks, which meant any time a student tested positive, those who were exposed had to quarantine. “That meant anywhere from 5-30 were quarantined. With the masks, if both individuals are wearing one, there is no quarantine for the other student.” This cut down on the number of absences considerably.
He also shared the district will follow the policy of allowing only members of the immediate household plus two tickets per students for extra-curricular activities to attend events.
• Many high traffic businesses are also continuing with having employees and highly encourage customers to mask up. These include Fareway, Dollar Fresh, Casey’s and Kwik Star. 
Main Street businesses are also staying with their previous policies. Furniture Re-Do still has mandatory masks. Other business owners will continue to put masks on when their customers are covered. O’Henry’s may take down the mandatory mask sign, but continue to respect the wishes of their customers.
In all likelihood, the road to masking was slow over the previous year, so it will probably slowly go back to many not wearing masks. It all depends on how safe people feel now that a small portion of the population has received vaccines.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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