MASON CITY — Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health director Brian Hanft says he is disappointed that Governor Reynolds has dropped a mask mandate in her latest COVID-19 emergency proclamation.
He says, “I don’t agree with that, and I think it’s not the thing to do right now. Although our numbers are down, that’s great, I do think we need to stress as a community, as a public health entity, that we need to stay vigilant. We need to continue to wear those masks. We need to continue to physically isolate one another from others. We need to keep our distances, wash our hands, stay home if we are sick. Now is not the time to stop wearing masks, especially with the new variant that’s out there.”
Hanft says now is not the time to get complacent with wearing masks. “There’s several new variants out there, we already know the UK variant is here in Iowa. Please, people have got to stay on point and make sure you are wearing your masks and keeping your distance. Don’t let your guard down. We’ve got a long way to go on vaccines and now is not the time to step back.”
Hanft says even if you have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or have had coronavirus, you still need to wear a mask to help prevent its spread. “Just because you get the vaccine, both doses, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t spread the virus. You may not get sick or very sick, but you may still be able to spread it. We’re asking people to continue wearing their masks. Until we get more science behind this and more data, we’ve got to stay on point for this. Mask mandates, whether or not the governor is mandating it formally, it needs to happen and people need to wear their masks. For at least the near future, I’m saying at least for 2021, we’re probably going to be wearing masks.”
Reynolds over the weekend also lifted gathering limits in businesses like bars and restaurants.