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At Thursday’s Regular Pocatello City Council meeting, Councilmembers voted to approve a public health emergency ordinance requiring masks to be worn in all public places or when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.
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.” The ordinance goes into effect November 21 at 12:00 a.m.
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 hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, 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.
The ordinance includes a 30-day time period for educating the public about the ordinance. After 30 days, those who don’t comply with the ordinance would be cited with an infraction and fined $50. Additionally, the “ordinance shall be revisited at the first Regular City Council meeting of January 2021, and every first Regular City Council meeting of each month thereafter, unless sooner repealed.”
“We need to keep people safe and keep our businesses open. Wearing a mask is a simple step we can take to achieve that and we don’t want to have to go back any further in the stages of reopening than we already have,” said Mayor Brian Blad. “In addition to wearing a mask, we encourage all Pocatellans to follow the guidance from the health experts including washing your hands, practicing social distancing, staying home when you’re sick, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoiding touching your face, and cleaning surfaces regularly.”
To view the ordinance, visit bit.ly/3ffLWi8.