Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says mask wearing in public places is the responsible thing to do, but not every situation requires a face covering. Reynolds issued a public health proclamation Monday night requiring masks in these specific circumstances: when someone is inside a public space for at least 15 minutes and unable to stay six feet away from others.



Last week the Centers for Disease Control issued a briefing, citing research that indicates cloth face masks prevent the distribution of droplets — and protect the person wearing the mask as well as those around them. Reynolds says mask wearing is part of a series of steps Iowans can take to slow the spread of the virus, with the “ultimate goal” of keeping businesses and schools open. During a news conference today (Tuesday) she answered a question about the push back on mask mandates.



After the news conference, a spokesman for the governor said Reynolds believes the science is settled and masks are effective. According to the Iowa State Education Association, a third of Iowa school districts do not require mask wearing inside school buildings. Reynolds says that means the majority are requiring masks and the rest, she says, will adjust as they see the numbers of Covid cases rise within their community.



Covid is now the third leading cause of death in Iowa, behind only cancer and heart disease. More than two-thousand Iowans have died from the virus since March.



Reynolds says she’ll reassess the mitigation strategies she’s ordered in a week and, if hospital capacity continues to be an issue, she may issue new orders. However, Reynolds indicated shutting down all Iowa schools, as she did at the start of the pandemic, would be near the end of her list.