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Mayor Schickel: No gatherings of 10 or more in the city allowed

Beginning at midnight Wednesday, public gatherings of 10 or more people will be prohibited in Mason City until further notice.

Mayor proclamation COVID-19

Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel issues a proclamation on March 16, declaring a state of emergency for the city and banning all public gatherings over 10 people in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, as well as to keep health-care facilities from being overwhelmed. 

That proclamation came from Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel at a public address Tuesday afternoon that featured a mix of government officials working to aggressively prepare for and likely mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19 in the area. 

According to Schickel, the move is part of an ongoing response from officials in City Hall and Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health and it could be amended with further restrictions if necessary. 

During his time at the podium, Schickel asked the question: "Why do this?" and emphasized the imperative need to reduce a spike in COVID-19 by practicing as much social distancing as possible. In concert with that ban, to further social distancing, Schickel also announced that City Hall will be closed to the public after Tuesday.

Mayor Bill Schickel COVID-19 proclamation

Despite the closure, employees will still be around to field calls from local residents and essential services such as transit, sanitation and emergency response will continue to operate. In the case of transit, vehicles will be cleaned regularly and the city is asking that riders practice social distancing.

Mayor proclamation COVID-19

Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health Director Brian Hanft discusses on March 16 the precautions local officials are imploring the public to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as to keep health-care facilities from being overwhelmed. 

While announcing the restriction and the change in services, Schickel also acknowledged the tough decisions that vital city workers are having to make to ensure that things continue to function.

"City workers can't stay home and we owe them a special debt of gratitude."

As of now, according to Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health Director Brian Hanft, there are no confirmed cases in Cerro Gordo County but there's a likelihood of localized cases being confirmed.

Mayor proclamation COVID-19 -3

Senior Vice President of MercyOne Medical Group North Iowa Dr. Teresa Mock asks the public to avoid going to the doctor with mild symptoms, and addresses the issue of COVID-19 testing.

With that in mind, MercyOne North Iowa will start offering tests tomorrow through its mobile clinic that will be stationed at the County Fairgrounds but Senior Vice President of MercyOne Medical Group North Iowa Dr. Teresa Mock reminded people to call ahead for an initial screening before showing up in-person.

"Coming to E.R. will strain resources," Mock said.

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ICYMI: Stories from the weekend

Plenty of weekend news to catch up on this Monday:

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Here is a list of public events that have been changed or canceled due to the threat of coronavirus; keep checking back for updates. If you are hosting a local event and wish to get information out about it, please email

Reach Reporter Jared McNett at 641-421-0527. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @TwoHeadedBoy98. 

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