Mixed reaction to new mask mandate in Seward

Some Seward residents are in favor of the mandate, others feel it's a step too far.

Seward’s new mask mandate has received mixed reaction from people in town. Some say they are glad that a mandate has been passed with positive COVID-19 increasing. Others respect the issue but feel local governments should not be the ones to regulate mask wearing.

“I was actually very relieved when they passed it,” says Carla Ketner, the owner of Chapters Books and Gifts. “I am nervous when people come in without a mask on and I want to keep my staff and customers as safe and healthy as I can, so I appreciate that the mask mandate has passed.”

Rita and Marlin Luebbe are lifelong Nebraskans who are in support of the mask mandate.

“I don’t think it hurts anyone to put a mask on unless they have some type of a medical problem,” Rita said.

Marlin’s perspective on mask wearing is shaped, in part, by his own experience with COVID-19.

“I’m all for masks,” Marlin said. “I was in the hospital for seven days with COVID and it’s not fun.”

Teri Bloebaum owns Shear Reflections, a local hair salon in Seward. She says that her profession makes it tough to remain socially distant from others, but she and her staff try their best to make sure people wear face coverings when they walk the salon.

“I’m not surprised because people are putting all their faith in a mask,” Bloebaum said. “Customers are still coming in, we’re making sure their faces are covered when they walk in.”

One of Bloebaum’s issues with the mandate is that it presents mask wearing as a foolproof solution to stopping the spread of COVID-19. She feels that eating healthy foods and exercise should be emphasized as well.

“I still don’t think masks are the only answer,” Bloebaum said.

Seward resident Janet Yates says she respects the mandate and will abide by it, but does not feel like it is the city’s place to determine whether or not people wear masks.

“I’m not really thrilled about being told what to wear and when to wear it, but i understand the point behind it,” Yates said. “I really want everybody to be safe and be well, so if we got to do it to get through it, let’s do it!”

The new ordinance requires masks be worn in public within city limits and will take effect on Saturday, Dec. 5. Businesses are required to post signs on their doors saying that masks are needed for entry. The ordinance will be reevaluated after a board meeting on Jan. 5.

Categories: Coronavirus, Nebraska News, Seward