I want to thank you for your patience, Boise. I am deeply grateful for all of you who have been staying apart to benefit the entire community. But it’s clearly time we do more. The health and safety of everyone is always my top priority. We must do all we can, as a community, to protect our most vulnerable, and slow the spread of this virus that is a serious risk to our health and economy, especially as we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend and summer vacation season.
Working together, we can keep Boise healthy, our businesses open and keep people working. It’s proven science that using face coverings greatly decreases the transmission of this deadly virus. Keeping our businesses open and able to operate is paramount to our recovery. A recent study by Goldman Sachs reveals that mask mandates lower the infection growth rate relative to the average infection growth rate prior and suggests the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizable. Also, states that do not mandate face coverings account for 40 percent of total confirmed cases in the United States. 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.
Today, due to a significant increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ada County, and with robust support from the health and business communities, I’ll be signing a public health emergency order, effective Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. (Friday night). It requires everyone to use face coverings in the City of Boise. Coverings that completely cover the nose and mouth are now required in all indoor and outdoor public places. There will be a few exceptions for children under the age of 5, on-duty first responders, or those with health or communication concerns.
For those who may not already have face masks, they can pick up disposable masks at the City of Boise Mask Giveaway on Friday, July 3, 2020 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at two locations: Boise Depot, 2603 W Eastover Terrace and City Hall West, 333 N Mark Stall Place. Only drive up service is available and city staff will bring the masks to residents’ cars. There is a limit of six masks per household.
“Wearing masks has turned out to be very successful at halting the spread of the coronavirus if everyone is on board. It's an incredibly simple, cheap, and effective intervention,” said Boise City Council President Elaine Clegg. “It works for individuals, but more importantly for communities; wear a mask for the people you want to protect, wear a mask for the businesses you want to see open. Wearing a mask will give you freedom to go more places sooner. Together we can keep ourselves and our economy healthy.”
“We are seeing overwhelming demand for COVID-19 testing at our clinics, and positivity rates are eight times higher than they were in April. We are very concerned about how rapidly this virus is spreading through the community,” said David Peterman, M.D., Primary Health Medical Group CEO. “Wearing masks has been proven the most effective way to stop the spread. The entire physician leadership team at Primary Health Medical Group and I strongly support the Mayor's order to require masks be worn in our community.”
“Wearing a mask to protect ourselves and others is the right thing to do,” Said Holli Woodings, Boise City Council President Pro Tem. “Let’s show our commitment to our community and small businesses by masking up for each other.”
“We believe the use of face masks, as well as appropriate physical distancing, are critical to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and further business and community recovery,” said Micron Executive Vice President of Technology and Products and Boise Site Leader Scott DeBoer. “We require on-site team members to wear 3-ply surgical masks as part of our broader preventative protocols. In addition, we are making cloth masks available to our Boise team members for personal and family use.”
“Wearing a mask in public has nothing to do with our citizenship, politics or opinions,” said John Berryhill, owner of BACON. “It has everything to do with each of us protecting ALL of us.”
We must all do our part in protecting our entire community. The science is behind us that the wearing of face coverings, in addition to keeping a six-foot distance from those not in your immediate family, keeping hands and surfaces clean and staying home when you’re sick are effective in slowing the spread of the virus.
Regular updates on all services and facilities can be found at the City of Boise’s COVID-19 Resource website or by calling (208) 608-7000.