Omaha's Mask Mandate Extended Until February

Nov. 10, 2020, 4:55 p.m. ·

Councilman Pete Festerson of District 1 offers to the floor an extension of the mask mandate decision deadline from 30 days to 90 days (Photo Courtesy Omaha City Council).

The city of Omaha’s mask mandate is now extended until Feb. 23 2021. The city council was first poised to extend the policy mandate until Dec. 29. Members then accepted an amendment by Councilman Pete Festerson.

Councilman Festerson offered the amendment during the meeting to extend the decision deadline from 30 days to 90 days, resulting in a mask mandate until next year. He said the surge in COVID-19 cases clearly shows the importance of continuing the ordinance.

"This is going to be more than a 30-day challenge for us," he said. "We do have the holidays coming up. It's important to get through the holidays, and get kids through the holidays, and then back to school."

Councilmembers voted 4 to 1 with two members not voting. Councilman Brinker Harding criticized the idea, saying re-upping the rule every 30 days gives the city more flexibility. Harding could not vote because he is quarantined, but participated via Zoom. Councilmember Aimee Melton voted against the mask mandate, citing the governor’s new directed health measures makes the ordinance redundant.