Des Moines mayor’s issues citywide mask mandate; police to hand out masks, not citations

Health

DES MOINES, Iowa (NewsNation) — Des Moines is the latest American city to issue a mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie issued a proclamation Wednesday mandating everyone to wear a mask in public when social distancing isn’t possible, NewsNation affiliate WHO-TV reports.

The proclamation requires everyone to wear a mask or face shield when outside their home and unable to stay six-feet away from others.

The mandate also applies to businesses and public transportation. Businesses are instructed to post signs requiring customers to wear masks, and to turn away any customers who refuse.

Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said officers will be focused on handing out masks, not citations. Officers have 10,000 masks ready to distribute to anyone in need.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings because they are a method of source control. Masks help prevent bacteria from traveling in the air onto another person when talking, sneezing, or coughing.

Des Moines joins four other Iowa cities that have issued mask mandates including Dubuque, Iowa City, Mount Vernon and Muscatine.

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