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Treasure Valley community reacts to new CDC mask guidance

Community members say it is frustrating and disappointing to hear the new guidance and feel like they're moving backward, but it isn't all that surprising.
Credit: KTVB
People wear masks while walking in downtown Boise

BOISE, Idaho — New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have people searching for face masks, which many Idahoans haven't worn in months. The guidance recommends that masks be worn inside where COVID-19 transmission is considered high. 

This recommendation includes everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

People around the Treasure Valley said it is frustrating and disappointing to hear the new guidance and feel like they're moving backward. Many believe this could have been prevented if more people got vaccinated.

"It's not unexpected," community member Charlene Davis said.

The new guidance Tuesday has leaders in the Treasure Valley issuing their own requirements as well. The City of Boise is bringing back its mask mandate to city buildings, like Boise City Hall, City Hall West, the Boise Public Library, branch libraries, recreation facilities, water renewal facilities and city office buildings.  

The City of Boise said an increase of COVID-19 cases and low vaccination rates in Ada County also influenced their decision.

"I feel relief that more action is being taken because if not enough people are getting vaccinated then I do think there need to be guidelines set in place," said Jessica Harrison in response to the new guidance.

The City of Meridian said they're reviewing the CDC recommendations but are not issuing any new requirements at this time.

Central District Health (CDH) is also backing up the CDC's guidance and recommends people wear a mask where there are substantial or high levels of transmission. CDH notes that Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties all meet that criteria.

"Unfortunately I think the fact that there are people resistant to getting vaccinated results in that sort of new guidance," Will Hanggeler shared about Tuesday's new guidance.

Other local health districts, like Southwest District Health based in Canyon County, are still leaving the decisions up to community members because they are best suited to do so.

"My opinion is if you're vaccinated, I don't really see the point in wearing a mask," said Izzy Morgan. "In my personal opinion and what I've seen in my personal life, I don't see people getting COVID or having symptoms of COVID if they are vaccinated."

Tuesday's CDC guidance also targeted schools and recommends all students, teachers, staff and visitors at schools wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.

Several school districts around the Treasure Valley told KTVB this guidance is new and said officials have not yet had time to discuss it.

Nampa School District said for the time being they will continue on with the back-to-school plan approved in July. West Ada School District said they are and will continue to monitor and evaluate data to make operational decisions and keep schools safe. The new guidance will not change the school district's existing plan or the School Board action made in June.

In the meantime, Boise School District said they will meet with local health officials to discuss the new guidance and their COVID-19 impact plan.

"I mean it's a virus that keeps changing, so I think all of us should be prepared to know that it's just going to keep changing until we get vaccinated," Davis said.

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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