With three new COVID-19 cases being reported Wednesday in Teton County, the mayors of Victor and Driggs are looking to require the public to wear masks in light of the spiking numbers across the state.
City of Driggs Mayor Hyrum Johnson will look to pass a “mayoral emergency” this Friday with the anticipation of the ordinance to be affirmed Tuesday evening by the Driggs City Council. Victor Mayor Will Frohlich said he is placing a proposed emergency ordinance on the July 8 meeting agenda to be debated by the city council.
This would follow two other Idaho cities who recently enacted a similar order. Boise Public Radio reported today that the cities of Hailey and Moscow, Idaho made mask wearing mandatory. According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, Teton County, Wyoming is looking to instate a similar mask requirement. Eastern Idaho Public Health has debated the same requirement this week.
The Centers for Disease Control, “recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
“We’ve seen a significant uptick in cases and rate of spread both locally, regionally, as well as nationally,” Johnson told the Teton Valley News. “People aren’t taking responsibility and acting sensibly. If our community continues to act as it has been for the last month we’ll shut down, which would be devastating to our businesses. Combine that with the high travel rates, even higher that last year and finally it is strongly recommended by the CDC, Eastern Idaho Public Health and our local health professionals.”
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Idaho had notched 6,117 coronavirus infections statewide, 365 of them new on Tuesday — a new record. That followed triple-digit increases in cases every day since June 22. So far, 92 Idahoans have died from COVID-19; 509 health care workers have been infected; and 330 Idahoans have been hospitalized for the virus.
Teton County has realized a sharp increase in the last two weeks logging 11 new cases in the last two and half weeks.
While Frohlich is not making a move with a “mayoral emergency” decision, he is placing an emergency ordinance before the Victor City Council next Wednesday.
“It’s the easiest the thing to put in place to slow this down and the science is there,” said Frohlich of the ordinance to require masks. “Putting this in front of the council and debating this is a good move. It’s one of the easiest things we can do because we’re running out of tools in the tool kit.”
Fröhlich noted that Teton Valley is full of visitors this time of year, more so around this time. His hope to run a robust educational campaign to get visitors to wear face coverings while they are visiting Victor.
Driggs’ ordinance will require a mask or face covering in all public places including parks, businesses, religious meetings and gyms.
“I’ve seen public gatherings which are completely irresponsible,” added Johnson. “People crammed together on bleachers at the city park without mask. People talking in Broulim’s without masks, and no social distancing.