WATERLOO-KWWL) Citing a section of the Iowa Code, Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart says he believes he already has authority to issue a local 'shelter-in-place' for Waterloo, if deemed necessary.
However, Mayor Hart says he's not going to make any rash decision on shelter-in-place for Waterloo, saying the City of Waterloo is considering all options, and will do whatever is necessary to protect the citizens of Waterloo.
Mayor Hart told KWWL News,”I believe we have the ability to issue a shelter-in-place, based on Iowa Code, Sections 372.14 (2). I have not issued a shelter-in-place, but we are constantly monitoring changing conditions.”
The Mayor refers to Section 372.14 (2) of the Iowa Code, which says, in part, 'The mayor may take command of the police and govern the city by proclamation, upon making a determination that a time of emergency or public danger exists. Within the city limits, the mayor has all the powers conferred upon the sheriff to suppress disorders.'
Now at 179 positive cases, (5 in Black Hawk County) Iowa coronavirus cases have increased each day this week.
Governor Reynolds has been under pressure to issue a statewide shelter-in-place, but has been hesitant to do so, saying she believes the measures already in place are adequate to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Hart added he hasn't heard directly from the office of Iowa State Attorney General, Tom Miller, as to whether an Iowa mayor has the power to issue a shelter-in-place, even if the State of Iowa has not directed that order.
Mayors from several of Iowa's largest cities, including Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, have urged Governor Kim Reynolds to order a 'shelter-in-place' for the state. Mayor Hart is not among the mayors calling for a statewide shelter-in-place at this time.
The Waterloo City Council has already declared a local 'civil emergency' for Waterloo, giving Mayor Hart broader local power.