Why a mask mandate is necessary in Lincoln


Photo by Anika Keese

Pinnacle Bank Arena of Lincoln, Nebraska, requiring a mask mandate at all events held in the arena.

While the wildly contagious variant of Omicron tears through the population, both nationally and locally, it calls for the question on how, when, and why we need to wear our masks. On January 15th 2022, Mayor Lerion Baird reinstated the mask mandate for Lincoln, which had previously been lifted on Christmas Day 2021.

According to the New York Times, over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported daily in Lincoln, Nebraska as of January 18, 2022, although that number is likely to be much higher due to the amount of cases unreported or those who do not get tested.

According to The Guardian article, “Mask-wearing linked to 53% cut in COVID-19 incidence, global study finds,” mask wearing has been linked to greatly prevent COVID transmission, along with being vaccinated, which together is the best pairing.

This is why it is more crucial than ever that citizens in the local community unify to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by abiding by city-wide mask mandates and prevention methods.

The city of Lincoln has to consider a variety of things as to when to reinstate a mask mandate. It is important to encourage and require masks in many public places like schools or grocery stores so that we still have the ability to at bare minimum keep those places running.

Due to employees being quarantined with the Omicron varient, many employers are struggling to find shift covers in order to keep their businesses running. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s article, “Super contagious omicron leaves employers and workers scrambling,” mentions, “For many workers, it’s a calculation, whether they can afford to tell employers they are sick or have been exposed to the virus.”

By reinstating the mask mandate, Lincoln has sought to protect the public along with employees of public businesses who may fear missing work or becoming infected.

Another large factor in determining the severity of the pandemic and requiring masks is schooling. Even before the mask mandate was mandatory for Lincoln, LPS had announced the requirement of masks in all LPS schools and buildings in order to maintain the safety of all students and aim to continue teaching in person.

“I do not want to return to ‘shutdown’ with schools and businesses closing and limitations on travel so I do everything I can to keep my family, students, and community safe,” Mary Morrow, a science teacher at East, said.

Although a mask mandate is especially important in schools, many students and parents still stand strongly against the requirement of wearing a mask. LPS has reported the highest number of students out of school with COVID-19 throughout the course of the entire pandemic, continuously growing daily.

Morrow had a strong belief in making sure every student and parent understands the science behind masks, “Not everyone is trusting in science and data. We are in an age where information vetted or not can be easily spread. There is also confirmation bias where people tend to look for data to support their belief rather than evaluate vetted data for a logical conclusion,” Morrow said.

As Omicron cases continue to peak daily on a global scale, it is important to abide by city-wide mask mandates in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 along with other preventative measures such as testing, social distancing, and vaccinations.