D.M. council member supports fines for maskless residents

A Des Moines councilman suggested the city consider fining residents who don't wear masks in public. (Photo courtesy of the State of Utah)

Des Moines City Councilman Josh Mandelbaum on Monday proposed the capital city start fining people $15 for not wearing face masks in public places as required.

At a council work session, Mandelbaum said Waukee has started assessing $15 and $20 fines for violators of a mask mandate that is similar to Des Moines’. Waukee officials could not be reached. It was unclear how many citations the suburb’s police department has issued.

“Waukee has been enforcing their mask mandate with a $15 citation and I think we should look at joining Waukee and doing something similar,” Mandelbaum said. “I think we should be looking at whatever else we can be doing to step things up.”

Councilwoman Connie Boesen said a key will be getting other local communities to do the same. “I know Polk County’s been trying to get these other communities to take a bigger stand on this,” Boesen said.

Mayor Frank Cownie said he has met with area mayors to push for a more unified response to the virus. “I think we’d better immediately figure out what we can do” if Gov. Kim Reynolds doesn’t announce far stricter measures during a scheduled address Monday night, Cownie said.

The council took no action on the proposals.

Reynolds scheduled a live address on Iowa PBS for 6:05 p.m. Monday.