Mask mandate remains in place

(FILE PHOTO) The Pocatello City Council. Front row left to right: Heidi Adamson, Mayor Brian Blad, Chris Stevens. Back row left to right: Linda Leeuwrik, Rick Cheatum, Roger Bray, Claudia Ortega. Photo courtesy: City of Pocatello.

Thursday, the Pocatello City Council voted to continue the city's face covering ordinance for at least another month. The ordinance will be revisited at the city council’s April 1 meeting. 

Additionally, the council voted to direct staff to prepare an ordinance that repeals the city’s face covering ordinance to be considered at the April 1 meeting and each first regular city council meeting after that, if needed.

Under Idaho law, an ordinance can only be repealed by another ordinance. The mandate was first voted to be put in place in November. On February 4, the city council had a meeting and voted in favor of creating a new ordinance that would, if passed, rescind the current mask ordinance. After Thursday night's vote, the ordinance to repeal the original mandate has failed twice.

Under the ordinance, “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.”

 Exceptions are provided for: 

  • 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 deaf or hard of hearing, or communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, 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.
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