Starting Saturday, face coverings will be mandatory at all indoor and outdoor public spaces in Boise for most people.
In a press release, Mayor Lauren McLean said she will sign the public health order, which will take effect Saturday at 12:01 a.m.
“It’s proven science that using face coverings greatly decreases the transmission of this deadly virus,” McLean said in a statement.
“Our goal is to allow our businesses to stay open so we don’t experience another spike in infections, causing us to go further back in the Idaho Rebounds stages, rather than slowly and carefully reopening so our economy can recover.”
Face coverings must cover both the nose and mouth under the order.
The policy does not apply to children under five years old, those with health or communications issues, as well as on-duty first responders like police and firefighters.
Residents who do not already own a mask will be able to pick up disposable masks at two locations Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those giveaway locations will be at the Boise Depot and at City Hall West. Households will be limited to six masks each.
Ada County has been the epicenter of Idaho’s recent explosion in COVID-19 cases. The state has experienced the strongest spike in cases in the country over the past two weeks – 430%, according to NPR.
Ada County accounts for nearly 1,400 confirmed cases since June 14. Central District Health officials forced bars and large venues to close in the county just last week and limited public and private gatherings to fewer than 50 people.
It’s the only county in Idaho with such restrictions, though Gov. Brad Little held back the rest of the state in his final phase of reopening amid a surge in cases – including in health care workers.
It’s unclear when Boise’s mandatory mask policy will end.
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