Since the COVID-19 Pandemic began and especially over the last month or so as the numbers continue to rise, I have often been asked why I don't issue a Mask Ordinance for the citizens of Bellevue to follow. As someone who has come to realize how important masks are in controlling the spread of this virus, I can understand the confusion and frustration that comes with this topic and I am more than willing to explain the City's position to anyone that asks. I also think it is important to let all of the citizens of Bellevue know the limitations we as a community face when it comes to issuing Public Health Mandates.
Simply put, outside of a few specific scenarios, a City of the First Class (e.g. Bellevue, Papillion and LaVista) or a City of the Second Class (e.g. Gretna and Springfield) does not have authority granted to them from the Legislature to issue Directive Health Measures (DHM).
For Bellevue and all of the communities that make up Sarpy County, DHMs must come from either the Governor or our specific Health Department (which in this situation must be preapproved by the State Health Department). Fortunately, individual businesses and organizations have the right to enact their own policies and many have put their own masking policies in place in our area.
I would like to thank Papillion Mayor David Black for laying out a much more detailed explanation of these legislative restrictions and if you would like to read it in its entirety, it is on the City of Bellevue's Facebook Page or as an an attachment to this article.
I as Mayor of the City of Bellevue do not have the authority to issue or ask the Police Department to enforce a Mask Ordinance for our community. However, with that being said, I strongly feel that despite no State issued mandate, Bellevue residents will do the right thing. We have reached a critical stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic and with the support of the Sarpy/Cass Health Department, I ask all Bellevue residents and visitors to our community to take the proper and necessary steps needed to help control the spread of this virus.
Wear a Mask! Wash Your Hands and Keep a Safe Distance! These are three simple steps that we all can and should be taking to help control the spread of COVID-19 and frankly we shouldn’t need the State, Local or Federal Government to mandate us to do so.
This virus is serious and I want to ensure all Bellevue citizens that the City's Administration are in regular meetings and communications with all other Sarpy County Jurisdictions, the Sarpy/Cass Health Department and Agencies throughout the State to gather as much information about this pandemic and act accordingly.
2020 has been a trying year for all of us and I appreciate your patience, comments and support as we navigate through this together. I sincerely hope better days are in store for us in 2021 but we need to take appropriate actions now to help ensure that reality.
Thank you for reading this lengthy post and as always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Mayor's Hotline at email@example.com.