Reynolds needs to bring back the mask mandate

AL MAIER, Opinion Columnist

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has lifted all of the restrictions that had been put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. She has now declared that all bars, restaurants and several other businesses will no longer be requiring customers to wear masks or face coverings as they enter into the premises. Similarly, social distancing practices have also seemed to be thrown to the wayside as the restrictions are pulled back. Other states have done the same, but most of the United States is still under a mask mandate as well as the implementation of maintaining social distancing at six foot spacing.

Despite the fact that there are still so many cases of the virus and there have even been reports of the U.K.’s new strain that has officially made it to Iowa, Gov. Reynolds does not seem to understand that we still really need to be able to keep restrictions in place.

The vaccine for COVID-19 is slowly making its way out to Iowa residents, but that does not mean that we should be heading out back into the world as though the pandemic has ended. There are still new cases being reported every day and while the numbers might be trending downward, they are not trending down as fast as expected. So many other states are still requiring masks and social distancing that it is concerning to see Gov. Reynolds leaving the mandate so soon. She had originally put the mandate into effect back in November of 2020 making Iowa one of the last states to enact the law, yet one of the first to retract her decision.

We can still make a difference and a positive impact on Iowa and COVID-19 if we wear masks and social distance despite what Gov. Reynolds has said. Wearing masks and keeping our distance from others while the vaccine is distributed is the fastest way to beat this virus. So many people are now grocery shopping and going out to local businesses without masks, so let us be the ones to set a good example and keep masking up.

These truly are unprecedented times, but as residents of Iowa, all it takes is respect and taking the necessary precautions to crush the curve. Together, we can and we will get through this if we keep wearing masks and respecting the six foot distance while going about our daily lives.