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Omaha issues no mask mandate citations

Including Repeat Offenders & Confrontational Employees
Posted at 6:29 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-10 11:29:55-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For nearly two months, the City of Omaha has had a mask mandate. Omaha Police and the Douglas County Health Department have received hundreds of complaints, but no citations have been issued, including several businesses with repeat issues.

"As we all know there is no enforcement of this law. That is another reason why I believe the rates are going up. There has not been one citation issued under this ordinance," said Omaha Councilmember Chris Jerram.

Andy Wessel supervises the COVID-19 Line with the Douglas County Health Department. He says he does not have the authority to issue a citation. If he comes across a business that is not cooperating, he passes that information along to Douglas County Health Director, Dr. Adi Pour or the Omaha Police Department (OPD).

According to OPD's call logs, during the month of August, officers had to inspect 65 businesses...10 of those businesses on more than one occasion. This included restaurants, gas stations and grocery store chains. These businesses also took up more than 30 percent of the calls during that month.

Last week, 3 News Now requested an interview with the Omaha Police Department. OPD's Public Information Office declined the interview stating, "Officers have conducted compliance checks and have received cooperation if something needed to be addressed."

But not everyone has cooperated. According to the department's records, on August 14th, police tried to educate an employee at a grocery store. The officer reported the employee "became confrontational stating he would not wear a mask."

3 news now emailed Omaha Police about the incident. They did not respond.

"There is a community who simply refuses to respect the law and that is on a number of issues in our society today and nothing our government does or the city council does is going to change those few who choose to disrespect the law, unless the law is enforced," said Jerram.

3 News now requested the Douglas County Health Department's call log. The department denied the request.

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