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Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie issues city-wide face mask mandate

Polk County has 12,020 COVID-19 cases and 218 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Masks must be worn within Des Moines city limits immediately when social distancing is not possible, Mayor Frank Cownie announced in an emergency proclamation Wednesday.

Individuals who do not wear one will be given a mask and not cited, according to the city. Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said in a statement that 10,000 face coverings are being ordered for officers to distribute.

The proclamation reads in part: 

...all persons in the City of Des Moines shall wear a face covering such as a cloth mask, surgical mask, plastic shield or similar covering that covers their nose and mouth when in a public place in all of the following circumstances unless as excepted in subsection (c). 

Here is when masks must be worn:

  •  When outside one’s residence or dwelling place and unable to stay at least six (6) feet away from other persons
  •  When inside any indoor public settings or place of public accommodations as defined in City of Des Moines Municipal Code Chapter 62, including without limitation all retail stores, restaurants, bars, taverns and other accommodations
  •  When in any other public settings that are not one’s residence or dwelling place with persons who do not live in the same residence or dwelling place;
  •  When using public transportation or private car service (including taxis, ride share, or carpooling).

Polk County has 12,020 COVID-19 cases and 218 deaths as of 2:40 p.m. Wednesday.

"Now more than ever, we have to protect the health and well-being of the citizens of Des Moines and the State of Iowa," Cownie said in a video message. "And it's all of us together that are going to make that happen."

Several exceptions will be made for the mandate, such as: 

  • Persons under 2 years of age
  •  Any person who has trouble breathing, is currently on oxygen therapy or on a ventilator;Any unconscious or incapacitated person or any person who is otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance
  •  Any person who has been told in writing by a medical, legal, or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings when that writing is carried on the person not using an otherwise required face covering unless such inquiry is prohibited by Federal or State law
  •  Any person actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;Any person traveling in a personal vehicle alone or with members of the same household
  •  Any person who is alone or in the presence of only members of the same household
  •  Any person exercising at moderate or high intensity (e.g. jogging or biking)
  •  Any person seated at a food establishment when actually engaged in the process of eating or drinking
  •  Any person actually obtaining a service that would require temporary removal of the persons face covering (e.g. dental, orthodontic or medical services)
  •  Any person for whom a face covering would be violative of a sincerely held religious belief or doctrine
  • When Federal or State law prohibits wearing a face covering or requires the removal of the face covering

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