Some Lincoln residents in favor of mask mandate extension, others frustrated

The extension of Lincoln’s mask mandate has garnered mixed reaction across the city.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The extension of Lincoln’s mask mandate has garnered mixed reaction across the city.

Some people, like Lincoln resident Ms. Smith, who asked that her first name not be published for this story, say the mask mandate makes her and her husband feel more at ease when getting around the city.

“[We feel] much safer, yes,” Smith said. “We will obey the mask mandate for the city and are comfortable with it and as long as it needs to be the case, we’re all for it.”

Restaurant employee Izaiah Mendoza says understands why the mandate was extended, but says it’s disappointing when people take out their frustration with the mandate out on him and his co-workers.

“I’m required to tell people to wear one,” Mendoza said. “And there’s a lot of people that disagree with it and give attitude or don’t want to wear it at all or sometimes just walk right out of the restaurant.”

Mendoza explains he has no control over the mask mandate. As is the case with all businesses during the mandate, employees are asked to deliver the message to those not wearing masks.

“I can’t do anything [about the mask mandate],” Mendoza said. “But I’m required to tell you. If I don’t, I could put my job in jeopardy of getting fired or something.”

UNL student Hunter Godina says this time last year, he was much more upset about the mask mandates than he is now.

“I did that for the first year, I got to complain about it and say, ‘Man, I really wish we could move past this,'” Godina said. “At this point, it’s clear that we’re not getting through it as quickly as we’d all hope and you know, [there are] better things to put my energy towards. I can deal with wearing a mask, and focus my energy of other parts of my life.”

Lincoln-Lancaster County health director Pat Lopez says the mandate was extended due to the city’s current COVID positivity rates (between 9-10% over the past six weeks) and hospitalizations (rolling average of just under 100) being too high.

“We understand people are getting tired,” Lopez said at a Tuesday press briefing. “Pandemic fatigue is real and understandable. But it’s important to continue to be patient and stay focused on what we need to do to further decrease the risk of COVID-19 in our community.”

Lincoln residents say they’ve definitely felt pandemic fatigue.

“It’s not the best,” Mendoza said. “You kind of just deal with it sometimes.”

Still, Lincoln residents have been through mask mandates before, and are prepared to continue as long as necessary.

“We always have to think about what’s for the best of the community and the people around us,” Smith said.

“I think it’s just a matter of patience,” Godina said. “I fully expect that at some point, we’ll get back to that normalcy or we’ll define some new sense of normalcy that’ll work for people.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Lancaster, Nebraska News, News