Des Moines has lifted its mandate that people wear masks when in public, the city announced this afternoon. Mayor Frank Cownie had instituted the mandate in late August in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “I want to thank our residents, business owners and visitors for understanding the importance of this authorization and for adhering to the rules,” Cownie said in a prepared statement. “Your diligence helped keep us safe and healthy. It has been a long and challenging road for us these past 14 months but now we are nearing the corner. That is why we will follow the recommendations of the CDC and immediately loosen the restrictions in Des Moines.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released recommendations that said fully vaccinated people could “resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing” except where required by federal, state and local laws and regulations. Cownie urged people who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID to continue wearing masks.