The Jamestown City Council extended the requirement for employees who have contact with the public to wear masks until the April 5 City Council meeting. The council ended a city requirement that members of the general public wear face coverings on a unanimous bid.

The public mask mandate went into effect following a Nov. 11 special meeting of the Jamestown City Council. The mask mandate had no end date but remained in effect until action to end it from the City Council. The mask mandate for employees working in the city of Jamestown was issued at the end of October. Both occurred just prior to the number of active cases in Stutsman County peaked at 526 active cases on Nov. 17.

Since its implementation, there have been about 10 calls to the Jamestown Police Department regarding mask infractions although no citations were issued, according to Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police.

Councilmen presented information on both sides of the mask issue.

Councilman Dan Buchanan called for the extension of the mask mandate "out of an abundance of caution."

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Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said comments from the public had included both sides with "people very passionate on both sides. Certain they have God and science on their side."

Councilman David Steele said the virus is still in Jamestown and called for extending the mask ordinance as a way of eliminating the coronavirus from the region.

"I would like to see us crush this virus," he said. "I'd like to see the mask mandate continue until the next meeting."

Heinrich said the mask mandate had accomplished what it was designed to do.

"The numbers are way down," he said. "This looks like an overreach."

Councilman David Schloegel said he hoped to extend the mask mandate as a way of making sure scheduled events such as the Stutsman County Fair could be held on time through the summer.

The motion to continue requirements of masks for employees who deal with the public passed on a 3-2 vote with Schloegel and Councilman Brian Kamletz dissenting.

The motion to end all other pandemic-related ordinances, including the public mask ordinance, passed unanimously.

In other business, the City Council directed the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to allow sidewalk service of food and drinks in Jamestown. A temporary ordinance change allowed that type of service during the pandemic and the city will now look at making the change permanent.

Temporary changes to ordinances to allow drinks to go and limit the size of public gatherings in Jamestown were allowed to expire.