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City of Seward to discuss mask mandate Thursday and Friday

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 8:14 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - After failing to get enough votes from Seward City Council on Tuesday, they will plan to meet Thursday and Friday in special meetings to discuss a citywide mask mandate. According to the mayor, Josh Eickmeier, each ordinance is required to be heard three times before going to a vote.

Mayor Eickmeier said he brought this up as a recommendation to local health officials and wants to have a decision made sooner rather than later.

“Waiting another month to make a decision, I think would be irresponsible,” Eickmeier said.

On Tuesday, local health officials and people in Seward deliberated for hours, but what came out of it was a mask mandate would be left up for future discussion.

Eickmeier said, “There may be some adjustments we can make to the ordinance that city council members might be more comfortable with,

Although the mayor didn’t say he’s in favor of a mandate, he says people need to hear from local health officials.

CEO of Memorial Health Care System Roger Reamer said COVID hospitalizations have increased dramatically in November.

“Half of the covid-19 patients that came into our er were sick enough to have to be put into an inpatient setting,” Reamer said.

Hearing this left some in Seward asking the city to do more to protect the people.

“Science supports and shows that masks work,” said a Seward resident.

But others in the city feel a mask mandate could be an overextension of city power.

One resident in Seward said, “I believe Nebraskans are common sense people who take responsibility for themselves and their actions.”

Until a mandate is either approved or denied, it’ll be up to local stores and public buildings to determine if masks are required or recommended.

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