Face coverings must now be worn for anyone entering an Iowa courthouse, regardless of their vaccination status against COVID-19.
Chief Judge Susan Larson Christensen said in the order, issued Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court, that the court needs to find a middle ground between reducing the virus’ spread and the court’s “commitment to conduct the important work of the courts,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports.
All courthouses must adjust their signs to reflect the new mandate, which is not dependent on a given county’s positivity rate nor status of transmission, according to the outlet.
The CDC has said the entire state now falls under the umbrella of high or substantial community transmission of COVID-19 and Christensen noted the court has reviewed the agency’s guidance about masks in indoor settings in areas of high transmission, the outlet reports.
State officials said the past week alone has seen over 7,000 infections reported in the state, which also saw a 26% uptick in hospitalizations, according to The Gazette.
The new rule though does not have any bearing on the state’s law that prevents schools, cities and counties from mandating masks, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ spokesman Pat Garrett, told the paper.
The governor, according to Garrett, “believes wearing a mask should be a choice, not a mandate.”
Judges meanwhile will be able to choose whether masks must be worn or other coronavirus-era safety protocols must be adhered to in their courtrooms during court proceedings, according to the paper.