Thursday evening during the Pocatello City Council meeting, the council voted in favor of a public health emergency ordinance requiring masks to be worn in all public places, or when six feet social distancing cannot be maintained.
 
The ordinance goes into effect once it's been "posted in five public places of the city." The city later clarified this to mean 12:00 a.m. on November 21.
 
Before the vote, Councilwoman Claudia Ortega stated that she has no political aspirations and therefore is making her vote best on what's best for the city as a whole. She also invited the public to be as involved in all city decisions at it has been with this one. She then voted in favor of the ordinance along with Chris Stevens, Roger Bray and Linda Leeuwrik. 
 
Both Heidi Adamson and Rick Cheatum voted against the ordinance.
 
Below is the article posted earlier in the day that has more detail on what the ordinance entails. The attached PDF is a draft of the actual ordinance. If you missed the meeting, you can watch the full council discussion by clicking here.
 
At the Pocatello City Council’s regular meeting Thursday, council members will consider a public health emergency ordinance requiring masks to be worn in all public places, or when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.
 
The proposed ordinance states: “Every person shall, when in any indoor or outdoor public place, completely cover their nose and mouth when members of the public are physically present for otherwise unprotected social interaction with persons other than household members.” 
 
The ordinance would allow for exceptions to wearing masks. Exceptions included in the proposed ordinance are listed:
  • Children under the age of 5.
  • Persons who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering. A person is not required to provide documentation demonstrating that the person cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons, including on-duty law-enforcement officers, for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
  • Persons 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.
  • Persons who are eating or drinking at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, so long as the person is able to maintain social distancing, as recommended by the CDC, from persons who are not members of the same household or party as the person.
  • Persons who are incarcerated.
  • Patrons of gyms so long as the gym is following a plan approved by the local health district.
  • Outdoor and/or indoor public places where people can maintain social distancing as recommended by the CDC.
The proposed ordinance includes an education period of 30 days. After 30 days, those who don’t comply with the ordinance would be cited with an infraction and fined $50.
 
Additionally, the “ordinance shall be revisited at the first regular city council meeting in January 2021, and every first regular city council meeting of each month thereafter, unless sooner repealed.”
 
To read the proposed public health emergency ordinance in its entirety, please see the attached PDF.
 
The meeting is not a public hearing and testimony from the public will not be accepted during the meeting.
 
Before the meeting, residents can submit their comments about the ordinance via email to the Mayor by clicking here and the city council by clicking here, or by calling 208-234-6163.
 
In-person attendance is extremely limited due to Governor Little's modified Stage 2 order. Only 10 are allowed in meetings under the new order. Those who do attend are required to wear face coverings. 
 
Since you most likely will not be able to attend in person, you can watch the proceedings online at https://www.pocatello.us/718/Live-Streaming or on television on the Government Access Channel 56 with a Sparklight (formerly CableOne) subscription.
 
Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.
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