Dear Waterloo & Cedar Falls: End the Mask Mandate NOW [Opinion]
The last roughly 14 months have presented us with many challenges. The COVID pandemic had been difficult for everyone. Heath, employment, feeling trapped, etc. During this time, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds took a lot of flack for not imposing a mask mandate in the state. She did, eventually, put one in place after the holidays when cases shot through the roof. In response to her delay in enforcing a mandate, many cities and/or counties imposed their own mandates. Included are Waterloo and Cedar Falls. I, personally, was a huge supporter of this as I felt it was the right thing for Iowans. Wear the mask, keep everyone around you safe. That was then...
It's time to be done with requiring masks
Yesterday, Thursday, May 13, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), announced vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a mask indoors. There are a few exceptions, but generally speaking, they said you can ditch the mask if you're two shots in (one if you got the J&J jab). That's great news for folks like me, and most of my coworkers. Not that I've minded wearing the mask, not that I felt oppressed being made to wear it, just that I feel like there should be more trust placed in the vaccines. After all, the government has worked hard to promise us they're safe. Now that the CDC has lifted its guidance on public mask-wearing, it's time for Waterloo and Cedar Falls to do the same. Guys, it's time to be done requiring masks.
Local governments work too slow
I live in Cedar Falls so, let's start there. The City Council repeatedly extended the cities mandate. most recently on April 5. The Cedar Falls City Council voted at that time to extend the city's mask mandate until at least May 19. Yes, I know that's next Wednesday (as I write this) but come on, folks... the CDC came out yesterday. Be reactive. End it now. Why? Because you look like you're actually paying attention to current events when you do. Blanket extensions are ridiculous. Especially when the word mandate is involved.
Cedar Falls mask mandate was, from the beginning, terrible. Blanket extensions with little regard for the vaccine rollout. By April 5, we were told ALL Iowans would have a chance to get the vaccine if they wanted it. Waterloo put a much better mask mandate in place. During the summer of 2020, they voted to create a mask mandate in response to the governor's lack of one. It was set to be enforced until they determined a mandate was no longer needed. Then on Monday, February 1st, 2021 the Waterloo City Council extended the mandate with an end date they'd later determine. Well, guys, that time is now. It's time to end the mandate. Black Hawk County's 7-day COVID average (as of May 12) is 6 cases. That data comes from Google's dashboard, which they source from the New York Times.
I want to reiterate: I was very pro mask when the pandemic began, and right up to when I got my second Pfizer vaccine in early April. I still feel if a business wants to impose a mandate, that's their right. And certainly, anyone who wants to keep wearing a mask should feel free to do without ridicule. But for the rest of them, and for the rest of the vaccinated masses, or folks that already had COVID... it's time to ditch the face wear mandate. Because mandates are a slippery slope to begin with.