Since the beginning of this national nightmare back in mid-March, governors and public health officials across the country have implemented stringent measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home orders. But not here in Iowa, as we reported in early April, Iowa was only one of five states not in a lockdown, not even a partial lockdown.

Now Governor Kim Reynolds has announced that she is lifting more pandemic restrictions in the 22 counties hardest hit by the virus. Yes, there are some limitations for businesses to follow as far as sanitizing and social distancing, but in Iowa there is no state ordered requirement or even a recommendation to wear a mask. NONE. Every other state has mandates or restrictions, or at the very least, guidelines or recommendations for face coverings...but NOT IOWA. 37 states have requirements and 10 states have recommendations. Iowa, Montana, Florida and Oklahoma have no state level orders. But even in Florida and Oklahoma, some localities have provisions concerning face coverings for employees and customers.

Numerous jurisdictions have encouraged—or mandated—citizens to wear face coverings when out in public, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained effectively. For instance, in Kansas, it is a recommendation that people cover their nose and mouth with a cloth mask while in public. In Illinois, essential businesses and manufacturers are required to provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. In Nebraska, restaurants permitted to re-open for dine-in must require all employees to wear masks.

Even the Federal government has a recommendation:

"The CDC recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission".

Iowa has made national news headlines for our high rate of "hot spots" at meat packing plants and nursing home facilities. Along with an alarming amount of cases soaring in Des Moines. Plus, at one point in late April, Black Hawk County alone had more Covid-19 cases than eight other STATES. When you consider all of this, you would think Iowa would at the very least have some recommendations.

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