Iowa courts to discontinue mask requirement

February 11, 2022 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa courts are discontinuing the requirement to wear masks, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen said Friday.

In an order effective Monday, Christensen said the mask requirement was put in place to address concerns with the rising delta variant and retained when the omicron variant followed.

“With both variants now on the wane, we find it appropriate to end this protocol,” she wrote. “People entering court-controlled areas are not required to wear face coverings. Judges, in their discretion, may require face coverings by participants or take other measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in court proceedings as necessary.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds said earlier this month that she would end the coronavirus public health emergency in Iowa, a move that will limit the release of state public health data.

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Reynolds has long-held the belief that it’s time to move on from pandemic restrictions so Iowa broadly has had no recent statewide mask requirements.

The governor’s decision means that as of next Tuesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health will report COVID-19 data similar to other respiratory viruses. The state will provide weekly updates on the IDPH website showing positive coronavirus tests, cases by county and deaths since March 2020, as well as information about how many Iowans are fully vaccinated.