IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) -- With Johnson County Public Health now recommending masks in public indoor settings, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, Iowa City is making it a requirement in City buildings starting on Friday.
The new policy comes after the CDC issued new guidance to help slow the spread of the Delta variant, which has been shown to spread more easily. The CDC recommends masks be worn in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19.
Masks will also be required for all visitors to the Iowa City Public Library.
As of Thursday, Johnson County is listed at substantial community transmission on the CDC's COVID-19 data tracker. All of the counties that surround Johnson County; Linn, Benton, Iowa, Washington, Cedar, Louisa, and Muscatine, all are listed at high community transmission.
The vast majority of Iowa counties are listed at high community transmission, the highest level on the CDC's scale. In the KWWL viewing area, Allamakee, and Chickasaw are the only other counties listed in the substantial category. Only Dubuque and Winneshiek counties are listed in the moderate category. None are listed as having low transmission. Only two counties in the state are currently in the low category, Mitchell and Taylor.
All City buildings in Iowa City remain open to the public with the mask policy in effect. Most business can be conducted online, via telephone or by email. The drop box placed in the front lobby of City Hall will remain in place for utilities, as well as other documents and payments. The utility payment drop-off on the east side of City Hall remains available with drive-thru access off of South Van Buren Street.
The City will continue to monitor local and national public health guidance and may change requirements as need.
Johnson County Public Health says wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand hygiene are easy ways to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, but the best way is for anyone 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccines are proven to provide significant protection against serious illness and death.
JCPH also reminds everyone to stay home if you're sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and to get tested. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.