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Gretna, Ralston officials pass facemask ordinances, both in effect Wednesday

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:43 PM CST
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(WOWT) - Following last week’s emergency meeting of the Ralston board of health, the Ralston City Council unanimously passed a mask ordinance during a special meeting Monday evening. An hour later, Gretna officials followed suit.

Gretna meeting

Gretna City Council also called a special meeting Monday to consider a face mask requirement. Within about 15 minutes, the matter had passed.

The measure goes into effect 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Gretna council discusses mask mandate

Gretna council discusses mask mandate

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Monday, November 23, 2020

Ralston meeting

Monday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting of the Ralston City Council was available on Zoom with limited attendance permitted at the meeting. The format was similar to Thursday’s Ralston Board of Health meeting, at which time the council meeting was expected to meet on Tuesday. The city posted on Friday that the meeting would be held Monday evening.

The Ralston council passed two action items: the first declared the face mask ordinance valid for indoor spaces, and the second implemented a penalty for violations. Both passed unanimously.

The ordinance goes into effect 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Ralston City Council Special Meeting, Monday, November 23, 2020 at 5:30 PM. Members of the public and press may attend this meeting via Zoom.

Posted by City of Ralston on Friday, November 20, 2020

The Ralston council closed public comment before voting to waive the second and third readings of the ordinance, but efore the first action passed, there was also discussion about the legality of cities passing a mask mandate. The city’s board of health could put a mask mandate in place, but council members said they wanted to take another step — an ordinance — to ensure the actions.

“We’re taking the path that’s kind of hedging our bet,” one councilman said. “We went ahead and had a board of health meeting where they voted to approve it, then if this council would approve it, then that’s just kind of covering our bases two different ways.”

City of Ralston discusses mask mandate

Ralston officials are discussing a mask mandate.

Posted by WOWT 6 News on Monday, November 23, 2020

A comment was made ahead of the votes that while some questions still exist over the efficacy of facemasks in preventing the spread of COVID-19, wearing a mask often works as a signal to engage in other precautions, like social distancing.

Ralston businesses will be required to post a sign that the city requires a mask be worn, much like businesses in Omaha have been doing since a mask ordinance was passed there in August.

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