Ames City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance repealing the city’s current mask ordinance during Tuesday’s last virtual special meeting.
The council allowed time for public input before officially voting on these new actions, and Matt Hinrichsen, Ames area resident, called in to the meeting to say he was voicing his support for the removal of the mandate.
City Attorney Mark Lambert wanted to clear up any misunderstanding about the Ames city ordinance due to Governor Kim Reynolds’ new passage of the law banning government mask mandates.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation in the media with the mischaracterization of what the new state law is that the governor signed last week,” Lambert said. “That law did not touch our ordinance, and it was very limited in scope.”
Private businesses and organizations still have the ability to place face-covering requirements for individuals on their property as the Ames mask ordinance and new state law do not affect those entities. Events held on city property will no longer have a face-covering mandate and masks will not be required in those circumstances. The Ames Public Library is an independent body with a library board of trustees who sets policies for the library, and will likely follow the council’s direction regarding the removal of the mask requirements according to City Manager Steve Schainker.
The council also voted to pass a resolution proposed by Ward. 3 Rep. Tim Gartin that would suspend the enforcement of and withhold punishment from the current mandate during the time gap between May 25 and 28 when the new ordinance is waiting to be published.
One of the reasons Lambert supported the suspension of enforcement of the face-covering ordinance from now to Friday is because some local businesses and organizations are waiting for the council to take action before making their own decisions about mask policies.
“I think a resolution like this would send the message that this ordinance is done as opposed to waiting until Friday for it to be lifted,” Lambert said.
Lambert also mentioned that Story County repealed their face-covering requirement as of today by resolution with the Board of Health regulations approved by the county Board of Supervisors.