The battle over mask-wearing in Idaho continues.
Last week, the cities of Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and Victor took up the issue.
While Victor passed a mask-wearing ordinance, the cities of Pocatello and Idaho Falls did not.
The city of Victor is just 11 miles from the city of Driggs which has also passed a mandatory mask-wearing ordinance. Victor’s ordinance passed unanimously.
The ordinance does contain many of the same exemptions seen in other places that have passed ordinances mandating masks.
Victor did do one additional exception not seen in other ordinances and that was an exception for schools. The council felt that schools would be making their own decisions about the issue and left it up to them.
However, Victor’s fine for not wearing a mask is $250 while Drigg’s fine is $100.
Idaho Falls also met last week to discuss the issue and decided to not move on a mandatory mask-wearing ordinance.
Mayor Rebecca Casper had indicated that she may do a proclamation on her own if the city council did not act. She did not do so the evening that the city council met.
Approximately 75-90 citizens showed up to protest the council considering the ordinance according to David Lyon, a citizen who was at the protest.
Lyon believes that the citizens of Idaho Falls showing up had an impact on the council’s decision. He told Idaho Dispatch,
“I have no doubt that the mask ordinance would have passed if the citizens had not shown up to make our voices heard against it.”
Some council members did say they did not think a mandate was right at this time. Idaho Falls City Council President Michelle Ziel-Dingman said,
I’m not in support of a masking order at this time. I would like to see what the metrics and key indicators look like and hear from the public health board in the near future.
It is unclear if the council or mayor will take action on the issue any time in the near future.
Pocatello’s city council and mayor also met to discuss a mask-wearing mandate and voted 4-2 not to pass an ordinance requiring them to be worn.
The two city council members who voted for the mandatory ordinance were Stephen Bray and Christine Stevens.
The goal of the city council, for now, is going to be one of “educating” the public. Some council members seemed concerned with the burden the police department would have with enforcement of the ordinance.
Mayor Blad indicated his support of educating citizens to wear a mask and concluded his comments by saying,
We have to be very careful and I agree 100 percent with an education piece, but I just don’t know how much more education we can do.
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Note: Photo courtesy of David Lyon.
Tags: Coronavirus, Idaho, Idaho Falls, Masks, Pocatello, Victor