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Omaha mask mandate extended until late February

Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 19:40:19-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After taking a mask mandate extension on a month-by-month basis since the summer, the Omaha City Council took a different approach on Tuesday.

“Clearly this needs to continue and clearly our community is experiencing a surge right now,” said Councilmember Pete Festersen.

The council voted four to one to extend the mandate, this time until February 23rd.

“Realize this is going to be more than a 30-day challenge for us. We do have the holidays coming up, it’s important to get through the holidays, to get kids through the holidays and then back to school,” said Festersen.

But it drew push back from the usual suspects.

The lone no-vote came from Aimee Melton, who has consistently voted against the city face-covering requirement.

She said the mandate isn’t needed after Governor Ricketts added restrictions on Monday.

“I do think since the governor issued the DHM’s that he issued, that the ordinances are redundant and that if you are going to have mask requirements, like what the governor has done, it needs to be more than just the city limits of Omaha,” said Melton.

Councilmember Brinker Harding was present virtually and said the mandate doesn’t cover the rest of the metro.

“The mandate does not cover people from La Vista or Papillion or Wahoo or Council Bluffs, who come and work and shop and for entertainment in the city of Omaha,” says Harding.

But for the rest of the council, it was an easy decision.

“It is important in my judgment that this mask mandate continue to exist,” said council-member Ben Gray.