Could Omaha’s mask mandate be nearing its end?

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Omaha’s mask debate may come to an end as the city’s mandate moves one step closer to the end.

The city council took no action at its meeting on Tuesday to extend the current mandate.

That means the Council would have to pass an emergency ordinance to keep it from expiring on May 25th.

Under city rules, it takes three meetings to pass regular ordinances that will come into effect after an additional 15 days.

Omaha has been under a city mask mandate since last August.

Several councilors told our partners on the Omaha World-Herald that they were willing to let the mandate expire if the numbers didn’t go back up.

“In my discussions with any of the council members, they saw no reason to extend the mandate,” Councilor Brinker Harding told the Omaha World-Herald.

“I don’t want the mask ordinance to be longer than strictly necessary, but we will continue to evaluate the numbers in the coming weeks,” added Councilor Pete Festersen.

Dr. Mark Rupp, director of the infectious diseases division at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said it may be too early to let the mandate expire. The latest data shows Douglas County with 18 cases per 100,000 people a 7-day moving average. Public health officials would prefer to see a single digit number.

“In my opinion it would be better to be on the safe side,” Rupp told the newspaper.

Regardless of a mandate, Councilor Colleen Brennan told World-Herald school districts that companies would still be able to set their own guidelines for masks.

Douglas County data shows that approximately 41 percent of residents ages 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

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