MANCHESTER, Iowa -- The three Delaware County supervisors this week issued a statement explaining their unanimous vote earlier this month against issuing a countywide mask mandate. 

The local mandate had been requested by the county Board of Health to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“Our disagreement with passing a mask mandate has been and remains that we do not believe we have the legal authority to pass a mask mandate and, since we would have no way to enforce the mandate, it is, for all practical purposes, just lip service and may cause greater harm than good by further inflaming this controversial issue," read the supervisors' statement in part. 

The mandate would have required masks for anyone older than 2 who was in public places and at outdoor gatherings where 6 feet of separation wasn’t possible. Such a mandate would be more restrictive than the current one instituted by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The statement indicated that, since their vote, Supervisors Jeff Madlom, Pete Buschmann and Shirley Helmrichs have “been accused in recent days of not caring about our health care workers or anyone who has been or may be infected by COVID-19. Anyone who knows us understands that is simply not true."

Another section of the statement said "in Iowa, local governments do not have the legal authority to pass such a law, and, even if we had, there are no existing mechanisms that would allow the mandate to be enforced."

Reynolds has long insisted that cities and counties do not have the authority to issue such orders. The municipalities with mandates, including the City of Dubuque and Dubuque County, argue that they have the legal standing to do so.

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