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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Mask Order Challenged By North Idaho Business Owners

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North Idaho business owners are suing public health officials over a mandatory mask order in Kootenai County passed last month.

The lawsuit was filed by two Kootenai County restaurant owners and Paul Herndon, who operates a raw milk dairy in Bonner County.

On his website, Herndon says he chooses not to wear a mask because he doesn’t believe they’re effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus. That’s despite the vast majority of public health officials backing the use of masks.

But the lawsuit wants to nullify the order on technical grounds: the business owners say Panhandle Health District’s board violated open meeting laws by not allowing many people to testify in-person. Gov. Brad Little suspended that part of Idaho law in March.

But the businessowners also claim board members broke open meetings rules when they limited the number of people who could watch online.

One of the board members attended the meeting by phone. His comments were hard to hear for many in the physical and virtual audiences, which the group says should also be grounds for vacating the order.

Panhandle Health District didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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