Mask requirement returns to City of Dubuque buildings, use encouraged in other indoor public spaces

The City of Dubuque once again is requiring masks and social distancing in its facilities for anyone older than 2.

The city also “encourage(s) residents to wear masks in public places in Dubuque,” according to an updated, pandemic-related emergency proclamation from Mayor Roy Buol.

“Buol’s proclamation cites Dubuque County’s high rate of community transmission of the virus, increasing number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as well as the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team’s recommendation that residents and visitors to Dubuque County wear face coverings in public indoor settings,” states a city press release.

Regarding the mask mandate in city facilities, the release states that the people exempt include those younger than 3, those with breathing problems, those who have “been told by a medical, legal or behavioral health professional not to wear face coverings” and “anyone actively engaged in a public safety role, including but not limited to law enforcement, firefighters or emergency medical personnel, although a mask should be worn if possible.”

City buildings covered by the mask requirement include the Bunker Hill Golf Course clubhouse, Carnegie-Stout Public Library, City Hall, Historic Federal Building, Five Flags Center, Grand River Center, Jule Intermodal Transportation Center, Mystique Community Ice Center and Multicultural Family Center.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds this spring signed into law a bill prohibiting cities and counties from imposing mask mandates on private businesses that are more stringent than the current state policies, but that law does not prohibit municipalities from instituting mask rules in their own buildings.

Last month, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City and Linn County were among the Iowa municipalities to implement similar rules in their facilities.

The requirement will remain in place until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changes Dubuque County’s community transmission rate to “low or the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team advises otherwise based on local data and conditions.”

As of midday Tuesday, the CDC listed Dubuque County’s transmission rate as “high,” which is the highest of its four ratings, along with 97 of the other 98 counties in the state.

“Low” is the lowest of the four ratings. Across the country, the CDC reports that the transmission rate is “high” in 95% of counties. Just 2.2% of counties nationwide have a “low” rate currently.