BOISE, Idaho — Boise Mayor Lauren McLean is going to sign a public health emergency order, effective July 4 at 12:01 a.m. requiring everyone to use face coverings in the city. The face coverings must completely cover the nose and mouth and are required in all indoor and outdoor public places. There will be some exceptions for children under five, on-duty first responders or those with health or communication concerns.
A recent study by Goldman Sachs shows 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. States that do not mandate face coverings account for 40 percent of total confirmed cases in the United States.
“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.”
The announcement comes after a significant increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ada County. If you do not have a face covering, there will be a City Of Boise Mask Giveaway on July 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Disposable masks will be handed out at the Boise Depot and City Hall West (333 N. Mark Stall Place). The masks will be handed out drive-up style and city staff will bring the masks to 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.”
Mayor McLean said in a press release that "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."
McLean went on to write "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 Center or by calling 208-608-7000.