The Jones County Board of Health approved a proclamation at their Sept. 25 meeting strongly encouraging the wearing of masks in public. The proclamation is not a mandate and does not include enforcement mechanisms or penalties for not wearing masks.

The Jones County Board of Supervisors tabled action on the proclamation at their Sept. 29 meeting to allow time for public input.

You can find the proclamation below in full.

Jones County Board of Health Proclamation

Sept. 25, 2020

WHEREAS, on Jan. 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared a national public health emergency related to the dangers posed by COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States signed an emergency disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act authorizing emergency response measures in all fifty states in response to COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, the Governor of Iowa issued a Proclamation of Public Health Disaster Emergency after multiple cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Iowa and the Iowa Department of Public Health determined that community spread was occurring within the state; and

WHEREAS, Iowa Code Section 135.140 defines a public health disaster as a disaster which specifically involves an imminent threat of an illness that poses a high probability of widespread exposure to an infectious agent that poses a significant risk of future harm to a large number of the affected population; and

WHEREAS, all available information indicates that COVID-19 continues to pose a substantial widespread risk of infection leading to a significant risk of harm to the population of Jones County particularly as daily rates of persons testing positive in Jones County are increasing; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has determined that face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the virus, particularly when used universally within communities; and

WHEREAS, the Governor's current proclamation requires that businesses and gatherings ensure social distancing of employees, customers and attendees, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with the guidance of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH); and

WHEREAS, on Aug. 27, 2020, the Governor of Iowa issued a proclamation strongly encouraging all Iowans two years of age or older to wear a mask or other face covering when in public settings, especially in circumstances when it is not possible to remain six feet away from others outside their household, unless it is unsafe to do so because of health or disability; and

WHEREAS, the IDPH's reopening guidance advises that members of the public consider the use of face coverings when distancing is not possible as wearing face coverings in public places where social distancing measures are difficult (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies) can help slow the spread of COVID-19, and refers the public to the "local public health agency, the appropriate regulating agency or professional association” with questions about how to implement its guidance:

The Jones County Board of Health and Jones County Public Health advise and recommend the following community mitigation strategies be adhered to at all times:

• Stay home when unwell.

• Wash hands often with both soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

• Practice social distancing between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).

• Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering/shield especially in instances when social distancing is not feasible and/or other means to provide separation are not present.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.

• Clean and disinfect touched surfaces and objects frequently.

• Consult your healthcare provider or public health if you have questions.

NOW, THERFORE, the Jones County Board of Health strongly encourages Jones County residents and all visitors to the County to wear face coverings while in public around individuals who do not reside in your household, especially when social distancing measures cannot be maintained. These recommendations shall take effect immediately.

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