Dear Governor Reynolds,
The Iowa City Area Better Together Steering Committee was formed this spring to guide our area’s efforts to navigate the challenges created by the novel coronavirus and help us “build better” through the recovery process. Members of this committee along with numerous local elected officials have encouraged the local economic development groups to formally request the sub-delegation of your authority to city and county governments to mandate the wearing of face coverings (e.g. cloth masks or face shields) in public. This request is the result of conversations with local business owners who support a local mandate in order to create an even playing field for all businesses in this uncertain time.
Your sub-delegation of the authority to implement this mandate pursuant to Iowa Code 29C.6(8) as communicated from the Attorney General’s office would help our local governments protect the health—and economic well-being—of our community, and especially the young people attending the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College. The Board of Regents, the University of Iowa, and Kirkwood have all provided resources and guidance to help keep students and staff safe. But until you give local governments the authority to require face coverings in public, off-campus student gatherings in public spaces will continue to drive community spread of the coronavirus.
If you choose to sub-delegate the authority to mandate face coverings, our local leaders believe we will greatly improve our ability to protect health, slow the spread, and accelerate local recovery efforts. Given newly released information provided by the CDC showing many Iowa counties are a part of a “Red Zone” of new infections, we believe local leaders need the ability to make timely decisions at the county level. We would welcome any guidance from your office on how best to develop and enforce a local ordinance to be effective, fair, and safe.
We truly appreciate your efforts to protect the health and well-being of Iowans and our economy during this challenging time. We also want to do our part at the local level, and your sub-delegation of this authority will help ensure all small businesses in our area are treated equally, will keep our young people learning in a safer community environment, and will protect the Iowans who are trying to live their lives while doing their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Thank you for your timely consideration of this request, and we look forward to your prompt response.
Kate Moreland, President of the Iowa City Area Development Group,
Kim Casko, President and CEO of the Iowa City Area Business Partnership
Nancy Bird, President of the Iowa City Downtown District
Josh Schamberger, President of Think Iowa City