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Papillion City Council votes against mask mandate ordinance, approves extension of quarantine leave

Posted at 11:05 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 02:51:36-05

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — The Papillion City Council has voted against an ordinance that would make it easier for a mask mandate to be reinstated.

A mandate was previously put in place in December for about 10 days. The mandate expired when Nebraska reached the yellow zone, with state hospital numbers for COVID-19 dropping below 20%.

This hospital data is what the new ordinance would have also been relying on. The ordinance would make it so the same mask mandate would be put in place if state numbers reached the orange zone again. This would bypass the city council having to propose another ordinance and voting each time the numbers reach above 20%.

“What is being put in place is the mechanism to have a mask mandate, with those triggers," explained Mayor David Black. "So the triggering of the mask mandate will become automatic.”

The city council voted to bypass a third reading and vote on the ordinance on Tuesday night. The ordinance did not receive the votes needed for a super majority and failed.

Several community members spoke out against the mandate. Some are pointing out that while the numbers to activate the mandate are based on a 7-day average, the numbers to expire the mandate are based on a 14-day rolling average. They ask how citizens are supposed to keep up with these ever changing statistics.

“In my opinion, this is worse than the mandate itself," one opponent said. "You all gave your word. The numbers went down. The mandate expired. End of story.”

While that ordinance failed, the council did pass an ordinance that would extend COVID-19 sick days for city employees. Eighty hours were originally given last year, but expired on Dec. 31. Employees can now use their unused sick days to quarantine if need by in 2021.

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