The Ames City Council will continue its conversation on a resolution to approve or deny a face covering mandate with the city buildings.
The city of Ames has no authority to mandate face coverings, Ward 3 Rep. David Martin said in a press release, but the Council does have the authority to set rules for the use of city buildings and facilities.
“Currently, city policy is that using face coverings indoors is ‘expected’ and I hear that this has been working well,” Martin said in the release.
“But given that Iowa State has exercised its own authority to ‘require’ face coverings on campus where physical distancing isn't possible, Council will now discuss whether to similarly ‘require’ face coverings within city buildings and CyRide buses. In any case, the staff recommends that the Parks and Recreation department still retain discretion to determine face covering rules for indoor physical activities.”
On July 16, the Ames City Council discussed possible city responses to the COVID-19 outbreak and moved that the mayor write a request to the governor that would grant the city the right to issue mandates if they choose.
City attorney Mark Lambert said this would allow the city to make decisions for things like face covering mandates, but it is still unsure if the governor will allow cities and counties to do so.
“I think it is important, not only for home rule that cities be granted this type of authority but more so in the face of a public health pandemic that we are provided with the opportunity to not only protect the health of our residents but also protect the health of our businesses,” said At-Large Rep. Amber Corrieri during the meeting.
The Council also discussed the concern of bars violating the governor’s social distancing proclamation and they move to send a letter to all licensed beer and alcohol establishments in Ames informing them of the proclamation as well as consequences that would take place if it is not followed. Implications could include citing misdemeanors to bar managers, suspension of permits, imposing civil penalties or shutting down the establishment.
The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday on Zoom where the public will be allowed to provide input. In addition, the meeting will be able to be viewed live on the AmesChannel12 YouTube channel, as well as on the city of Ames' website or Mediacom’s channel 12.