Thursday, August 13, 2020
Hailey Becomes Second City in Idaho to Mandate Face Coverings
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Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw wore a mask as he talked with Alex Buck and Ben Bradley ahead of the grand opening of Warfield Distillery’s new addition on Saturday.
   
Thursday, July 2, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The City of Hailey Tuesday night became the second city in Idaho to require the use of face masks in public.

A violation constitutes an infraction and could net you a $100 fine.

The Hailey City Council unanimously passed an emergency order Tuesday night requiring people to “cover their nose and mouth when members of the public are physically present for otherwise unprotected social interaction.”

 
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Paul Ries’ Curve shows Idaho with 253 new cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 6,370. For the first time in a while, Blaine County reported no new cases, keeping its total at 535. Twin Falls county reported 15 for a total of 614.
 

That includes any place open to all members of the public without specific invitation, including retail businesses, government offices, medical, educational, arts and recreational institutions, public transportation including taxi cabs and ridesharing vehicles, and outdoor public spaces where members of the public are present.

There are exceptions:

  • Children under the age of 5
  • Persons who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering
  • Persons who are hearing impaired or who are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired and needs to read lips and see facial expressions
  • Some workers, including on-duty law enforcement, for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk
  • People who are obtaining a service involving the nose, face, or head for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service
  • Those eating in restaurants, as long as they’re able to position themselves six feet from those who are not members of the same household
  • Outdoor public places where people can employ social distancing.

Other cities in the valley are expected to consider similar mandates. Blaine County commissionrs passed a resolution on Tuesday encouraging face coverings on Tuesday.

Moscow, home to the University of Idaho, became the first city in Idaho to require the use of face masks in public earlier on Tuesday, and McCall, that lakefront resort which is expecting up to 20,000 visitors over the long Fourth of July weekend, became the third Wednesday night.

Latah County, where Moscow is located, has watched its cases double from eight to 16 during the past nine days, according to the Idaho Statesman. Violating the order there is a misdemeanor and comes with a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Violating McCall's order comes with a $100 fine.

All three towns' mandates were imposed as cases of coronavirus in Idaho have spun out of control. Idaho has added 40 percent of its new confirmed cases in the past week, setting a record with 472 new cases on Monday.

The state tallied 253 new cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 6,370. Blaine County remained at 535 cases. But there could be far more since none of Idaho's Health Districts provide information about people who are tested positive but claim other states as their primary residencies.

Currently, 70 people are hospitalized in Idaho with COVID-related symptoms--less than 2 percent of the hospital beds in the state, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Idaho was listed as one of 16 states this week whose residents need to quarantine for 14 days should they attempt to visit New York and New Jersey. And most Americans are not being allowed to visit European Union countries because of this nation’s high infection rate.

As CNN’s Anderson Cooper said, “We’re the only country to send people to the moon and we can’t even fly to Paris because Americans are now a health hazard.”

Those who have made trips to others parts of Idaho have been frustrated by the lack of people wearing masks in places like Boise, Twin Falls and Idaho Falls. That said, one Wood River Valley resident who traveled to Twin Falls on Wednesday said residents there are beginning to wear them again.

At least 18 states, including neighboring Oregon and Washington, now require the public to wear face masks in public spaces.

But Gov. Brad Little has declined to mandate the wearing of face masks in public. He told this week’s AARP Town Hall: “It’s maybe not the best practice to mandate something if you know nobody is going to do it.”

Researchers predict that 80 percent of the population wearing masks would do more to reduce COVID-19 spread than a strict lockdown. The latest forecast from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that 33,000 deaths could be avoided by Oct. 1 if 95 percent of people wear masks in public.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University released this week the results of their experiments with  various types of masks. According to the study, droplets from a simulated uncovered cough traveled more than 8 feet.

Stitched-quilting fabric mask restricted the spread of virus to 2.5 inches, and cone-style masks allowed them to travel 8 inches. A handkerchief limited droplets to 1 foot, 3 inches, and a bandana allowed the droplets to travel 3 feet, according to CNN.

 

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