Judge denies injunction on Omaha mask mandate

District Judge Shelly R. Stratman made the decision to uphold the mask mandate on Tuesday. 
Douglas County Covid 111 Moment

OMAHA, Neb. (KLKN) – A Douglas County District Court Judge has denied an injunction on Omaha’s mask mandate, according to court documents. For now, the mask mandate will stand.

District Judge Shelly R. Stratman made the decision to uphold the mask mandate on Tuesday.

The state argued that a mandate can only be brought by the city council or the county health director and state approval would be needed to issue a mandate.

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse announced the mask mandate on Jan. 11. The decision to implement the mask mandate was due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

The mask mandate went into effect on Jan. 12 and was set to last until specific benchmarks improved for the city.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a lawsuit to stop the enforcement of the Omaha mask mandate and also attempted to impose an injunction to lift the mandate until a trial could take place.

Peterson says the mandate was unilaterally issued by Dr. Huse without approval from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

In a written statement from Dr. Huse, “We felt we were on solid legal ground and we’re pleased with the judge’s decision. The Health Department has and will continue to work tirelessly in this battle against COVID-19, and we hope that with everyone’s cooperation we can soon return to normal.”

According to Peterson, “Although we disagree with the court’s ruling denying our request to immediately stop Dr. Huse’s mandate, we recognize that courts set a high bar for such requests. They will not grant them unless they think the issues are clear. A very important question still needs to be resolved in this case. That question is whether our laws allow one unaccountable official to unilaterally impose these kinds of mandates on individuals and businesses backed by the threat of fines or imprisonment.”

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