Omaha Mask Mandate Could Be In Place As Soon as Weekend

July 27, 2020 - 12:33pm

A mask mandate in Omaha could take effect as early as Saturday after Douglas County’s health director declared a citywide requirement similar to what’s in place in Lincoln. At Monday’s Douglas County Board of Health meeting, Dr. Adi Pour talked about how face coverings can slow the spread of coronavirus. Later, board members, including Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray, passed a resolution in favor of the mask mandate.

“If don’t address what we see right now going on in a more cohesive way, then we are going to be the next Florida or the next Texas or the next Arizona or the next whatever,” Gray said. “You can sit there and say it’s not going to be that way if you want to, but the fact is the data says something different."

Opponents of the mandate said at the meeting the data doesn’t back the move to require masks in most indoor public places and they’ll refuse to wear them, even if required to.

“This was something that, after really a couple of months of asking the public over and over to do, we had some support it, but we needed to get greater compliance so that hopefully we can get back to normal,” Douglas County spokesman Phil Rooney said. “We’re doing this to keep entertainment venues open, to keep businesses open, restaurants open, so the schools will be able to reopen safely and to help us get back on a path to normal.”    

Rooney says Omaha will be the only Douglas County city under the mask mandate for now, but it could expand to other areas. Governor Pete Ricketts has said the state is exploring legal options to fight mask mandates, but so far, there’s no indication that will happen.

COVID-19 Cases in Douglas County

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