The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution mandating residents wear face coverings in public, despite legal advice from the county attorney that the order is unenforceable.

County Attorney Janet Lyness told the supervisors the best approach would be for the board of health to pass an ordinance, which they could then adopt.  “For you to adopt or pass a resolution saying that people shall wear face coverings does not have the enforcement that something that a city might do in an emergency like this. It does not make it a simple misdemeanor. It basically is unenforceable,” Lyness says.

Supervisors acknowledged that the state attorney general’s office has said no local governments are authorized to issue such orders. Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass said she wants to make the intent clear: everyone should wear masks to control the coronavirus.

“We already know that without the AG’s Office this really doesn’t hold enforcement abilities or the level of a mandate. I still think we need to have a resolution,” Green-Douglass said.

The supervisors said they hope to work with the board of health to pass an ordinance.

(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)