Face Coverings Memo – Johnson County Mandate

August 12, 2020

On August 4, 2020 the Johnson County Board of Health enacted a face covering regulation and submitted it to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors for approval pursuant to Iowa code 137.104. Subsequently, on August 6, 2020, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution approving the Johnson County Board of Health regulation, thereby making it a matter of law. The effective date was August 10 and a violation of this requirement is a simple misdemeanor. The regulation does allow for exemptions for individuals, which include specific medical, mental health or legal issues and social distancing requirements. The official text of the regulation can be found at: www.johnson-county.com/dept_supervisors_news.aspx   If you click on the item for  8–6-20 under “News Releases” you will find it. We recommend that you read it if you believe you may be eligible for an exemption.

It should be noted that Pastor Arch attended both the Johnson County Board of Health and the Johnson County Board of Supervisors meetings virtually, and was allowed to present his request that worship services be granted an exemption. Both boards received his request but chose to not make any changes in the version that was initially presented. Pastor Arch also discussed the issue with an attorney from the Alliance for Defending Freedom who recommended compliance with the regulations, but noted the listed exemptions.

In our commitment to have in-person/live worship, the Good News Board of Elders met this morning and reviewed the resolution and discussed how it applies to our worship service and activities. Since the Face Covering Regulation now carries the weight of law, the Elders unanimously agreed to abide by the requirements based on our understanding of Romans 13:1-6, which requires us to submit to the civil government and recognizes its right to care for citizens and implement rules and laws to protect us. Because we do not believe this regulation restricts our ability to worship, we are requesting that all who enter the church for worship or other activities abide by the law and wear a mask, face shield or appropriate face covering and appropriately social distance, unless you are exempt from the regulation.

Comments made at the Johnson County Board of Supervisors meeting by an Assistant County Attorney and in the press release from the Johnson County Board of Supervisors indicate that the regulation allows for people to not wear the mask when they can meet the social distancing requirements, as we have in our seating. Therefore, the Elders are asking you to wear your mask/face shield as you enter and exit the building, but you may choose to remove it once you are seated for worship. After worship is over please put your mask back on. To reiterate, you will need to wear a mask or shield at all times when you are in the building except for when you are socially distanced at your seat during the worship service (unless you are exempted per the regulation).

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Pastor Arch, Pastor Wootonn, Pastor Ilten, Barry Bedford, Jim Schlott or Jim Mays