Councilman Gray proposes mask ordinance stay put until COVID-19 metrics diminish

Council to debate sunset clause
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 3:50 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Councilman Ben Gray has put forth a motion to throw out the “sunset provision” currently in place for the city’s face mask ordinance and instead keep it in place until certain positivity and positive case target numbers are hit.

City council members talked about establishing a different strategy the last time it was extended at a somewhat explosive meeting where several people had to be escorted out.

“I’m getting a little frustrated with people who yell out and scream and talk and say things without being, without showing respect to other people in this room,” Gray said.

As it stands now, the ordinance, which was approved in August and extended by a majority vote of the City Council in September and again in October, expires Nov. 24 — just before Thanksgiving — unless the council passes another extension.

Instead, Gray is proposing the face mask ordinance remain in place — without further action from the council — until Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour determines two COVID-19 data points have been consistently both met in the city:

  • The positivity rate equals 5% or less for two consecutive weekly reporting periods.
  • The seven-day rolling average equals 10 or fewer positive cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weekly reporting periods.

The council is set to meet Tuesday, Oct. 27, for the second reading of — and public comment on — the renewal of the face mask ordinance before voting on the item Nov. 10.

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