Omaha Mask Ordinance expires

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Aside from a huge spike in COVID-19 cases in the city, the sun appears to be setting over Omaha’s mask ordinance, which expires on May 25.

The regulation has been in force for nine months; the city council put it into effect at the beginning of August and renewed it a few times.

Interviewed most city council members on Thursday afternoon, 6 News found that members who were once divided on this issue are now on the same page.

Councilors from Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding, two who voted against the previous ordinance; from Vinny Palermo to Pete Festersen, who backed the ordinance despite having disagreed for months on whether the government should make masks compulsory – everyone now seems to be on the same page.

The point now is for the regulation to be repealed unless there is a huge surge in cases meanwhile. With vaccines for anyone who wants one, and with the number of cases falling, it is time to let the mask regulation expire.

“People are being vaccinated. The numbers are encouraging, ”said Harding. “We have a month from now until the mandate expires – I think we will see positive results.”

Harding, who is due for re-election next month, said his main concerns about masks were the delivery and the clumsy way the council put them into practice.

“I encouraged people to wear masks. Nor did I think it should be a criminal offense. I think that was the only difference, ”he said.

Naomi Hattaway calls on Harding for the Dist. 6 seat. While masks are an issue on the campaign trail, she says the conversations often postpone.

“What we end up talking about more than just mask mandates are the values ​​of families,” she said. “You may not ask about it – but it quickly turns out that our current agency listens to the public health experts in our own backyard.”

If there is a surge in cases, the only way to keep the Mask Ordinance in place would be an emergency ordinance that would require six out of seven council members to vote to pass it.

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