Ames City Council to review draft of face-covering ordinance


Jill Even

Mayor John Haila discussed draft approval of a citywide face covering ordinance, going against advice from Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Iowa attorney general and the Ames city attorney Aug. 18.

Katherine Kealey

Ames City Council will meet Tuesday virtually to review the draft of the face-covering ordinance. Previously, the council voted to request the City Attorney to draft a mandate ordinance.

The ordinance would be in direct conflict with the advice of the Iowa Attorney General, Ames City Attorney and the Story County Attorney. In the draft written by City Attorney Mark O. Lambert, it states anyone ages 3 or older will be required to wear a mask where social distancing is not accessible. Face coverings will be required in an “indoor or outdoor setting or establishment where the public is invited.”

This will include retail stores but exclude private office buildings or if a person is in their own home, yard or in another person’s home. Violations are punishable by a $50 fine, but the ordinance specifies that a citation is a last resort option. Any of these provisions can be changed or deleted by the Council.

Second Ward Rep. Tim Gartin opposed the ordinance because the Council lacks that authority, according to a Facebook post by Gartin.

“As a council member, we take an oath to uphold the Iowa Constitution,” Gartin said in the post. “At the very least, this must mean governing in conformance to the authority delegated to us by the state. We don’t get to make this up as we go along. Good intentions don’t give us license to ignore the law.”

The ordinance is set to expire after May 31, 2021, unless the date in the clause is amended or sooner repealed, according to the draft.

The meeting can be watched live at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the Ames Channel 12 YouTube channel.