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Mayor Stothert: ‘Too soon’ to consider reinstating Omaha’s mask ordinance

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In light of Tuesday’s updated CDC guidance on mask-wearing, 6 News asked Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert about whether she would support reinstating the city’s mask ordinance.

The mayor said in an emailed statement Wednesday that it was “too soon to react to case increases,” and that the COVID-19 data didn’t support such action right now.

Stothert specifically cited increasing vaccination rates and encouraged those who are eligible but haven’t yet been vaccinated to do so. According to the Douglas County Health Department COVID-19 dashboard, 70.5% of residents ages 18 and older have had at least one dose, with 66.7% of the same age group considered fully vaccinated.

The mayor doesn’t have the authority to enact a mask mandate; the ordinance would have to be put in place by the City Council, and it would require three readings — including a public hearing — to do so.

Omaha’s mask ordinance went into effect in early August 2020 and was renewed by the council a handful of times before it was allowed to expire in May 2021.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement Tuesday that he opposes the new CDC mask guidance, while the Douglas County Health Department said Tuesday it was encouraging everyone to wear masks in public in light of the update.

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