The Waterloo City Council meeting last night included discussion of the face mask resolution and two ordinances.
The first item passed was the “Resolution Adopting a Face Mask Mandate for the City of Waterloo,” submitted by council member Jonathan Grieder.
“What I want with this resolution is I just want people to wear the mask, alright. There are exemptions that are written into it.” Grieder said. “I sat and heard from people who lost family members when we had the Tyson outbreak. And it was heartbreaking. And it was awful. And I don’t want that to happen to any more of our members of this community. And the mask is a simple gesture, a simple act of kindness, that we can do for our neighbors.”
The resolution includes detailed information on when face coverings are required and when they are not, who is excluded from wearing them, and guidelines for effective face coverings.
For example, face coverings are required in public when six feet of separation is not possible; inside public locations, such as grocery stores, drug stores, city buildings, retail stores, and other gatherings made up of people from different households; and when using public or private transportation services.
Those who are not required to wear face coverings include children two years old and younger; anyone on a ventilator, oxygen, or who has difficulty breathing; anyone who cannot remove their face covering unassisted; anyone instructed not to wear a face covering by authorized medical, behavioral, or legal personnel; and public safety personnel, such as firefighters, police officers, paramedics.
Provisions for when face coverings do not have to be worn include when traveling alone or with members of the same household in a personal vehicle; alone or with members of the same household; engaging in high or moderate intensity exercise; eating, drinking, or receiving a service that requires a person to temporarily remove the face covering; and when state or federal law otherwise prohibits it.
Additionally, businesses must post signs stating face coverings are required and customers will not be allowed entrance unless wearing a face covering.
Several members from the community attended to voice their objections to the mandate.
“The reason why I’m against the mandate is because it has been widely broadcast over the last five to six months on TV every 10 minutes to wash our hands,” stated Peter Lederman, a retired physician, “to wear masks in public and to social distance. So I think this is well-known among the public.”
Council member Margaret Klein, the one member who voted against it, voiced a similar concern, feeling the mandate was unnecessary.
“I think that all of the adults I run into are very aware of when they should and should not be wearing a mask,” she said. “You should be talking to your doctors. You should be listening to the state. The state says you’re grownups, we’re going to presume you can behave like that. So that’s the reason I will not be voting for this tonight. I think it’s an unnecessary jab at the adults in the room.”
All other council members disagreed. The resolution passed 6-1.
Once Mayor Quentin Hart signs it, the resolution will remain in effect for six weeks, during which time the Council will monitor its effectiveness. Before the mandate expires, the Council can elect to extend it or propose a new resolution.
The Council also passed the amendment to the fireworks ordinance, submitted by council member Patrick Morrissey. The main components of the ordinance include that, within city limits, consumer fireworks are only allowed on July 3 and 5, noon-10 PM and July 4 noon-11 PM; cannot ascend to 150 decibels or 210 feet; are only allowed on personal property, rental property with permission of the owner, or public property by permit; debris must be cleaned up after use; and police officers are authorized to issue citations and fines of $375 or more.
The final ordinance discussed—the requirement of baby changing stations in restrooms under certain conditions—passed the first reading but will need to pass two more before it can be adopted.
by Rachelle Chase
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