BOISE, Idaho — Boise Mayor Lauren Mclean on Thursday announced a new public health order that will take effect on Monday, Nov 23.
City facilities, including City Hall and Boise libraries, will close to the public until Jan. 15. City board and commission meetings will be limited, and access to the Boise airport will be restricted.
Also under the order, face coverings will be required in all public places, including businesses. Anyone who violates the order could be subject to certain consequences - including citations or arrest. A mask ordinance is already in place for the city of Boise but was rarely enforced. That's about to change, according to the city officials.
If a customer refuses to follow COVID-19 protocols and won't leave the premises, businesses can call the Boise Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch line at 208-377-6790.
Concerned customers are also urged to call the city clerk's office at 208-608-7040 to report any incidents of businesses not complying with mask-wearing or social distancing.
“We chose to come up with an innovative approach, it’s almost like a scalpel, going after the licensed businesses in our community that aren't following the rules that have been established,” McLean said on Thursday.
Complaints against businesses will trigger inspections by the city, and businesses that are deemed to pose "a clear and immediate threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public" face losing their license to operate. Such businesses will have their license suspended for at least 10 days on the first violation, at least 20 days on the second violation and a year revocation on a third violation.
McLean said she has no interest in shutting businesses down, but it may be necessary if they don't comply with the order.
"It is our intent to keep businesses open," she said. "It's our goal to keep business open and protect public health. So we're taking this step, and with new hooks of business licensing, to ensure that we can protect the public health and protect businesses that are operating responsibly in this tough time."
The hotline opens up on Monday at 12:01 am., and the city is prepared to answer any calls for help, but they want to make sure a few steps are taken before you dial in.
Lynda Lowry, who oversees the clerk's office, said you should ask yourself a few questions before calling the police or the hotline:
“Did you talk to the other party? Did you ask them to enforce the masks? What did they say?" she said. "Similar with businesses, did you ask the person to wear a face-covering or to leave?”
If the person or business refuses to comply with the request, the city or law enforcement will step in.
“As a last resort, we don’t want to have to affect people’s livelihoods and we don’t want to trespass people, so [we're] really hoping that the threat of enforcement will work,” Lowry said. "Hopefully, with this new public health order they can say 'hey, our business license is now on the line, we really need you to help us out here and we really need you to mask up.'"
To file a complaint against a business, call the City Clerk at (208) 608-7040.
Businesses that need help enforcing COVID-19 protocols can call the Boise Police Department non-emergency dispatch at 208-377-6790.
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