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Sarpy County cities voting on mask mandates

Posted at 6:25 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 19:44:12-05

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) — The City of Gretna will vote tonight on whether to implement a mandate city-wide. They're one of several Sarpy county cities that plan on voting on mask mandates this week.

See also: Ralston City Council votes yes on mask mandate

Gretna city councilmember Angie Lauritsen expects a mandate to pass, and says it’s needed.

“We haven’t been doing our part in our community,” says Lauritsen.

Lauritsen says she knows some residents who go shopping in Omaha and Lincoln, just to avoid maskless customers and staff.

“So they will actually travel to Lincoln or travel to Omaha, to spend their dollars, because they trust those businesses, they trust that area, to be more responsible for their health and safety,” says Lauritsen.

Others like Gretna city councilmember Logan Herring say since most residents already wear one, it won’t affect most people, but it’s part of the city’s duty to protect residents.

“With rising cases in Sarpy County in all Eastern Nebraska it looks like, it’s kind of a hot spot right now, anything we can do to slow the spread,” says Herring.

Other Sarpy County cities are beginning the process.

After initial reluctance from city leaders, due to the legalities of a city of their size implementing a mandate, Papillion’s Board of Health will vote on a mask mandate Wednesday morning and if it passes, it will go to the city council next month.

Down the road in La Vista, their city council will vote on a mandate Tuesday. Mayor Doug Kindig tells 3 News Now that while he has his own opinions on a mandate, he wants the council to make the call.

City council-member Mike Crawford says he has an open mind but has questions, including how it would be enforced by police.

“I don’t think it can be enforced, that’s another question I have. I don’t want to turn our police force into mask patrol,” says Crawford.

Then there’s Bellevue, who’s moving slower. Mayor Rusty Hike says the city’s law department is still looking up the legalities of a mask mandate.

If the board of health eventually passes one, and it goes to the council, councilmember Pat Shannon says he can’t wear a mask and doesn’t think it should be required indoors in Bellevue.

“Today we’re going to take personal choice away on a mask. Now that we started down this road, what are we going to take away next?” says Shannon.

Mayor of Springfield Bob Roseland tells 3 News Now that they’re looking to see what other cities in the county do and then will make their own decision on a mandate.