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Muscatine mask ordinance still in place but city can’t enforce it yet

MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWWL) - The City of Muscatine has had a local ordinance requiring people to wear face masks in public since Monday. However, the Muscatine County attorney is refusing to help the city enforce it.

Muscatine's city attorney works out of Des Moines and so the city contracts with the county to enforce violations to city code; which in this case would be a simple misdemeanor.

County Attorney Jim Barry spoke in front of the board of supervisors Monday, saying he believes Mayor Diana Broderson went out of her authority when installing a local mask order.

"This is because the governor has previously issued clear directive as to the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) during the pandemic, what the mayor has required as of today is not consistent with the governor's proclamation(s)," Barry said in a follow-up email to the board.

Governor Reynolds said Tuesday that cities like Muscatine in fact cannot enact these orders, echoing what Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said previously.

Muscatine City Attorney Matt Brick DID advise the mayor she was legally acting under Iowa's "home rule" law when making the order this past weekend.

Broderson says the order is still in effect and their goal was not to write tickets for disobeying but rather to normalize what public health officials say slows the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Broderson also posted about the situation on her personal Facebook Tuesday, saying it's not a political issue but a health issue.

Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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