This week the City of Boise is tracking House Bill 281 (HB281), which, if passed, will prohibit the State of Idaho and municipalities from requiring the use of face coverings to prevent or slow the spread of a contagious or infectious disease.
This bill has a direct impact on how local governments respond to public health emergencies; specifically, the ability to enact measures that are not provided at the state level. This is a response to how cities across Idaho have addressed protecting their residents from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed nearly 2,000 Idahoan lives.
In our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boise has focused our efforts on education and partnership.
We worked closely with our local business community to enact reasonable mask requirements that allow businesses to remain open while complying with state and national public health guidelines. In Boise, all businesses are open and allowed to operate so long as they comply with guidelines from Central District Health to ensure public health measures. This includes restaurants, salons and retailers.
When local businesses asked for additional support in enforcing the public masking requirements, the City of Boise and our Police Department focused on education. To date, there have been no incidents of a business losing their license or a business owner facing a criminal penalty due to a violation of the City’s public health requirements.
Based on data and research from our local health district (Central District Health, CDH), the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare and the Centers for Disease Control, we know that face mask requirements are a critical tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19. They keep hospitals open and able to manage the increased number of patients they are required to treat and care for.
This important tool has helped the City of Boise keep our businesses open, our economy working toward recovery, our kids in school and our hospitals with capacity to provide care for those who need it.
We are also tracking Senate Bill 1111, which has passed the Senate and moved to the House. If passed this bill would establish districts for local elections, requiring city council members to be elected by district within their city.
Follow both pieces of legislation: