No Mask Mandate for Omaha after Douglas County and AG's Office Disagree on Authority

July 31, 2020 - 11:10am

Health officials in Douglas County have backed-away from a plan to enact a face covering mandate in the city of Omaha. County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour cited a disagreement between city attorneys and the Nebraska Attorney General’s office over whether she had the authority to force a mandate. Pour says regardless, she hopes Omaha residents still wear masks in public.

“I want again, to stress the need and importance of wearing a mask. Please, everyone in this city, in this county, do the right thing,” Pour said. “I’ve heard a lot about liberty over the last few days, but liberty also requires responsibility and that is what I hope everybody takes into account.”       

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert says she’ll encourage members of city council to consider an ordinance requiring masks in public, but that process could take until mid-September. She says despite no law that says residents have to wear face coverings, it’s still a good idea.  

“At this time, we are pleading with every citizen in Omaha. We are asking them to wear the masks while they are out in public in public places and help us navigate all of you through this pandemic,” Stothert said. “Hopefully within a few months we’ll get a lot better news, but right now we really, really need to be responsible and do the right thing.”      

Lincoln has had a mask mandate in place for several weeks, although Governor Pete Ricketts has said in the past that his office is exploring legal options to end that mandate.    

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