There’s no specific penalty for those who refuse to mask up and the sheriff’s office does not provide masks to the public. County Auditor Pat Gill says he could remedy that based on the supply of thousands of masks he was provided before the November election.
“I do think it would be nice to have some on hand for the public that wants to comply but doesn’t have a mask,” Gill says. County Attorney Patrick Jennings told the county board of supervisors there is a very narrow basis for a non-mask wearer to be cited with a misdemeanor under the governor’s proclamation.
“Technically, unless they’re within six feet of somebody for 15 minutes or longer, that is what the law is,” Jennings says, “that’s what the proclamation says, so there’s only a violation if that occurs.”
Jennings says the board would have to enact a countywide mandate to put more teeth into a penalty for those who don’t wear masks. “Then, that would become a trespass if they chose not to wear one and they were inside the building,” Jennings says. “That would be a trespass. This simple misdemeanor only applies for six feet for 15 minutes or longer.”
Jennings says nobody locally wants to arrest anyone for a mask violation. The board decided to post signs saying masks are strongly recommended inside the building.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)