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McCall City Council approves new mask mandate

The move comes after the Central District Health Board last week voted to lift public health orders for Ada and Valley counties.

MCCALL, Idaho — The McCall City Council on Thursday passed a new mask mandate with the "intention to protect its tourism-based community" from COVID-19.

The mandate goes into effect immediately and will remain in place for 45 days.

The move comes after the Central District Health Board last week voted to lift public health orders for Ada and Valley counties and implement public health advisories for the two counties.

During a regular City Council meeting on Thursday, council members discussed the hundreds of comments submitted by the community and heard from St. Luke's McCall Chief of Staff Dr. Gregory Irvine.

"We're not done with this pandemic yet, there's still a great deal to do," Irvine told the board members, as urged them to resume the city's mask mandate.

The majority of the McCall City Council voted in favor of the mask order, which is enforceable with a citation of $100.

According to the city, the new mandate is less severe than the previous Central District Health order and is no longer a prosecutable offense unless the fine goes unpaid.

The primary difference between the new order and the old one is the medical exemption. Previously, medical exemptions could be claimed without documentation to avoid a citation. Under the new order, violators may still receive a ticket, at the discretion of a McCall police officer, unless they provide medical documentation.

"False medical claims have become routine in McCall to avoid wearing a mask," McCall Police Chief Justin Williams said. "This new mandate supports those who actually do have a medical condition by allowing them the opportunity to present their documentation to either the officer or the prosecutor."

The city cited McCall's increased tourism population, the new U.K. and South African variant strains that have been detected in Idaho, and limited health care services in the region as the main reasons for implementing the mandate.

"When visiting McCall, please protect yourselves, protect us and protect our mountain playground by wearing a mask, recreating responsibly, and learning more about our region before you arrive," the city said in a statement. 

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