Social gatherings in Ada County were restricted Tuesday to 10 or fewer people, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. And folks in Valley County will now have to wear masks.
The Central District Board of Health voted to limit the number of people at events like weddings, birthday parties and barbeques, saying they’re a common source of coronavirus transmission.
The new limit does NOT include churches or other places of worship, restaurants, theaters or retail stores as long as people are social distancing.
Board member Dr. Ted Epperly, said most days the county has reported more than 100 new cases of coronavirus and some days have gone higher than 200.
“If we decrease the COVID-19 burden in our community, all of us will get back to a more normal life faster than by kicking the can down the road,” said Epperly.
Last week, some board members suggested closing gyms in the county, which prompted a large outcry from gym owners and users. But Central District Health said Friday that gyms in the area have not been a significant source of transmission of the virus so far.
The board also voted to require face masks in more rural Valley County. That means people camping at Warm Lake or taking a day trip to McCall will need to bring a face mask along for the foreseeable future.
Elt Hasbrouck, who sits on the health board, is also a Valley County Commissioner. He said he’s seen an incredible influx of campers and other visitors to an area that has very limited health resources.
“They want to come up here and play and that’s great, we want them to come up and play and so far we’ve been really fortunate that our caseload hasn’t really gotten bad, yet, but I’d rather do something ahead of time then wait until after the crash has happened,” said Hasbrouck.
And he’s heard from local businesses who are asking officials for a face mask order.
“What I’ve noticed is that a lot of people want to be able to say, 'well we didn’t mandate the masks, the government did or the health district did,’ and that takes that pressure off of them so they can blame us and they want that.”
Hasbrouck says he and his fellow commissioners asked the board to implement a mandatory mask order.
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