Face Covering Mandate

Update 7/28/21: The mask mandate for Des Moines expired on May 14, 2021.

However, the CDC still strongly encourages the use of masks for those who are unvaccinated, those with weakened immune systems, and those going out in public in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

CDC Mask illustration

On Aug. 26, 2020, Mayor Frank Cownie signed an emergency proclamation making face coverings mandatory in public places whenever proper social distance cannot be maintained. The mask mandate took effect as the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) surpassed 58,000 positive cases statewide with nearly 12,000 in Polk County.

That mandate expired on Friday, May 14, 2021, however, it is strongly encouraged that you continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of May 20, 2021, State law prevents Iowa cities, counties and school districts from enacting their own policies regarding face coverings.

When does the face covering mandate start and end?

The mandate went into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. The emergency proclamation allowed the Mayor to end the face covering mandate at his discretion as circumstances warranted. Following the updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May 2021, Mayor Cownie ended the mandate on Friday, May 14, 2021.

On July 27, 2021, the CDC provided updated guidance to help prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant. As of May 20, 2021, State law prevents Iowa cities, counties and school districts from enacting their own policies regarding face coverings.

Who has to wear a face covering?

No one is required to wear a face covering, but the CDC strongly recommends that those that are unvaccinated, those with weakened immune systems, and those going out in public in areas of substantial or high transmission do so when unable to maintain social distancing in indoor settings or outdoor crowds.

The TSA is still requiring masks be worn while using public transit. Because of this, DART will still require riders and staff to wear masks on DART buses, and both indoors and outdoors at DART Central Station. Learn More

When are face coverings required at restaurants and bars?

Restaurants and bars have the right to set their own rules regarding face coverings requirements at their establishments.