What she said then: Perhaps no Republican governor has done as complete a 180 on masks as Reynolds. Iowa started setting record highs in July for coronavirus infections, and a leaked White House document suggested a mask mandate for much of the state. Reynolds responded with a no-way, calling a mandate a “feel-good” measure: “No, I’m not going to mandate masks. I trust Iowans. I believe in Iowans,” Reynolds told local radio. “There’s no way to enforce it. Most of the states or entities that have done that, they’ve actually gone as far as to say we’re not going to enforce it, so it’s just kind of a feel-good.”
What she’s saying now: “It’s up to all of us so that the worst-case scenarios I just described don’t become reality,” she said Monday in a prime-time address to Iowans, after announcing a mask mandate, among other measures, and talking about the state’s virtually unchecked virus spread. Democrats have criticized her mask mandate as not going far enough, like including schools.
What prompted the change: Exponential growth in virus infections in the state. About 30 percent of all of the state’s virus infections since the pandemic reached Iowa in March have come in November, reports the Des Moines Register.