Cedar Falls passes mask mandate



Effective immediately, Cedar Falls is under a city wide mask mandate for those 5 years of age and older.


Although UNI students and staff have already been accustomed to the expectation of wearing face coverings in public while on campus, the situation off-campus in Cedar Falls has been another matter.

That changed Tuesday night when, in a 4-3 vote, the Cedar Falls City Council passed a citywide mask mandate for those 5 years of age and older, effective immediately.

Council members Frank Darrah, Kelly Dunn, Simon Harding and Mark Miller voted in favor of the resolution, while Susan deBuhr, Daryl Kruse and Dave Sires voted against it, saying they preferred a “strong recommendation” to a mandate.

Under the mandate, residents 5 years of age and older must wear a face covering inside any indoor public settings, as well as outdoor public spaces where maintaining six feet of social distancing is not possible. Face coverings must also be worn while riding public transportation.

Exemptions to the mandate include those with breathing difficulties or medical exemptions, as well as those actively engaged in public safety roles, such as firefighters, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel. Masks are also not required to be worn while citizens are actively eating, drinking, or engaging in moderate exercise (jogging, biking, etc.).

The resolution does not include a penalty for noncompliance.

In the official resolution, council members called the mandate “essential” to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and accelerating economic recovery in Cedar Falls. The resolution also noted that the implementation of the mandate is “not irreconcilable with the governor’s proclamation and the guidance of the Iowa Department of Public Health.”

“This resolution is not meant to be stigmatizing or punitive and is in the best interest of the health, welfare, and safety, and economic recovery of the City of Cedar Falls, Iowa and its residents,” the document clarified.

The mandate will be in effect until Oct. 21, but may be extended beyond that time.

The Northern Iowan will continue to report on this developing story, and its impacts on the UNI campus community, in upcoming issues.