Des Moines city workers and the public are now required to wear masks inside city buildings to reduce the chance of spreading coronavirus.

In a resolution passed Monday, the Des Moines City Council also encouraged businesses and nonprofits to follow suit in their workplaces. Councilmember Josh Mandelbaum says with cases of COVID-19 surging in the area, residents need to take extra precautions.

Mandelbaum says, “The only way that we can help solve this is if we all get to a point where we are wearing masks, and wearing face coverings, and doing the simple things that we can to protect each other.”

Governor Kim Reynolds says her state emergency order preempts local officials from mandating face coverings for all residents. Paden Sheumaker of Des Moines encouraged council members to challenge the governor’s position.

“We can lead the rest of the state,” Sheumaker says. “We can make mask mandates and go against the governor, honestly, to be a leader in this and make sure everyone in your city is safe.”

The council is asking city attorneys to look for ways to accomplish that.

(By Grant Gerlock, Iowa Public Radio)