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Local

Newton Mayor: ‘Please, just wear the mask’

Hansen isn’t going to mandate masks, but he wants citizens to follow governor’s recommendation

Mike Hansen, the mayor of Newton, told council members and those listening in on the online meeting Monday night he is a survivor of COVID-19. His message to citizens was this: “Please, just wear the mask.”

It might not be the “grandiose protection,” but Hansen said it could certainly help. He has since recovered from the coronavirus and is feeling well. It was a very interesting experience, to say the least, he said. By the time the Nov. 16 city council meeting started, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was giving her live address.

Hansen did not know exactly what the governor said in her primetime address, which largely touched upon the significant increase in the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa, hospitalization rates and additional mitigation measures. Reynolds also told Iowans to wear masks when unable to social distance for 15 minutes or longer.

As he was recovering from COVID-19, Hansen said he had time to talk to health care professionals about the virus. By all accounts, he was doing everything right and was somewhat bewildered that he contracted the virus. He followed all the guidelines. He wore a mask. He washed his hands. He wiped down surfaces.

“And yet I still got the virus,” Hansen said. “So what I will tell people is: Continue to follow the CDC guidelines. It’s important. Continue to do everything that is being recommended and hopefully we can get control of this and get it going the other way.”

The only way to ensure people do not contract the virus is to “lock yourself down and don’t go around anybody,” Hansen said, acknowledging that’s not realistic. Instead, he asked citizens, businesses and anybody that works or visits in Newton to wear a mask. His request matched Reynolds’.

“I’m not going to mandate a mask, but I would ask that you wear a mask if you can’t social distance,” he said. “If you’re going to be around folks and you can’t social distance for at least 15 minutes, I would ask you to just consider wearing that mask.”

Hansen added, “I would ask everybody to have consideration for your fellow citizens here in our community. And when you’re with folks and you can’t social distance, I would ask you and encourage you to, please, just wear the mask.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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