Publish date:

Months after calling mask mandates a 'feel-good' measure, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issues emergency mask mandate

Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the emergency mandate on Monday.

Nine months into the pandemic, Iowa has enacted an emergency face mask mandate as COVID-19 continues to tighten its grip on the Upper Midwest. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who earlier this year said stay-at-home orders and mask mandates that most U.S. states enacted were "feel-good" measures that made little impact, issued the mandate Monday. It is only in effect until Thursday, Dec. 10 at 11:59 p.m., though she said further restrictions could be added after evaluating the state's health crisis in one week. 

Like Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Reynolds also ordered bars and restaurants to close indoor service by 10 p.m. and elective surgeries that require inpatient care are being sharply reduced to save hospital capacity. 

Reynolds said one of four people hospitalized in Iowa have COVID-19, and the state now has more than 1,500 people with the virus being cared for in a hospital, according to the health department. 

That's around the same number of people hospitalized with COVID in Minnesota, despite Iowa's population being 57% the size of Minnesota's.

Here's what Reynolds said in a radio interview in July when asked about a mask mandate, according to NPR

"No, I'm not going to mandate masks. I trust Iowans. I believe in Iowans," Reynolds told WHO. "There's no way to enforce it. Most of the states or entities that have done that, they've actually gone as far as to say we're not going to enforce it, so it's just kind of a feel-good."

Reynolds reiterated in her Monday speech that there's still no way to enforce all Iowans to wear masks. 

"This isn't about mandates. This isn't about government. There isn't enough law enforcement in the country to make sure that every Iowan is wearing a mask when they should. There aren't enough sheriffs in Iowa's 99 counties to shut down every non-compliant bar. If Iowans don't buy into this, we lose. Business will close once again, more schools will be forced to go online and our healthcare system will fail – and the cost in human life will be high," Reynolds said. 

"Now is the time to come together for the greater good, to look out for each other, not because you're told to, but because it's the right thing to do." 

Next Up

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves smash Rockets in season opener

The Timberwolves showed they have plenty of firepower in a victory over Houston.

Knuth - Nezhad - side by side

Frey challengers Knuth, Nezhad agree to rank each other 2nd

They're urging supporters to do the same on Nov. 2.

Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Charges: Man lied to buy gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

BCA releases investigative file in Winston Smith's shooting death

The file contains 1,000 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and dozens of audio files.


Fire at Mpls. pizza joint weeks after opening, owners suspect arson

The owners arrived at work Tuesday to find the building on fire.

vaccine, covid

New COVID charts show hospitalization, death rates based on vaccine status

The unvaccinated are far more likely than the fully vaccinated to become hospitalized or die.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

White House begins process to ban new mining near BWCAW

The stated goal is to protect the "unique natural wonder" of the BWCAW.

Autumn Merrick, Autumn Rose Merrick

Man charged in shootout, crash that killed 18-year-old on scooter

Autumn Rose Merrick was with a friend near the Holiday gas station.


masks, coronavirus, covid-19

Osterholm: It's time for a mask mandate, but social distancing more important

The state epidemiologist backs Gov. Walz ordering a mask mandate.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

Wisconsin Republicans aim to end governor's mask mandate

They've introduced a resolution to remove the governor's emergency powers.

coronavirus, masks, covid-19

City of Ramsey votes to stop enforcing Minnesota's face mask mandate

City Council members say it infringes on individual rights.


Let Them Play MN sues Walz over youth sports mask mandate

The CDC says masks may make it hard to breathe in high-intensity sports.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis ends its indoor face mask mandate

The city had kept the rule initially, despite Gov. Tim Walz dropping it statewide.

coronavirus, nurse

MN hospitals urge Gov. Tim Walz to mandate masks statewide

The MN Hospitals Association says there is a narrow window to slow the spread.