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'We’ve been pushing for something like this': Downtown Boise business owners react to mask requirement

The presidents of Bittercreek LLC and Boise Brewing had both asked the city of Boise and Central District Health to require face masks in public.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise is joining a growing list of cities in Idaho that are requiring people to wear masks in public. 

Mayor Lauren McLean on Thursday signed a public health order that will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 4.

The order states that everyone in Boise must wear a mask or face covering if they are in any indoor or outdoor public place and six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

There are a few exceptions to the order, including children under the age of 5, anyone who cannot medically tolerate wearing a face covering, people who are hard of hearing, and on-duty first responders.

The mandate comes just as a group of downtown businesses was calling on the city to mandate masks.

RELATED: Boise mayor signs health order requiring face masks in public

Dave Krick is the president of Bittercreek LLC and Collin Rudeen is the president of Boise Brewing. Both think requiring masks is a good thing.

“It’s something I’m kind of excited about. We’ve been pushing for something like this,” Rudeen said. “I think it’ll be a great benefit to the health of our employees and customers and the greater city of Boise.”

They feel that the mask mandate will help prevent them from having to close their businesses down and help keep their employees and patrons safe and healthy. 

“It’s with mixed emotions, I don’t think any of us want to see a mandate or something like this but it’s necessary,” Krik said. “I think we’ve realized people aren’t going to voluntarily adopt to wear masks. They’re choosing not to.”

In a news release, McLean said that science backs using a mask or face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s proven science that using face coverings greatly decreases the transmission of this deadly virus,” McLean said. “Keeping our businesses open and able to operate is paramount to our recovery.”

It’s the same way that both Rudeen and Krik feel about the situation.

“If something doesn’t change, we're looking at moving back to Stage 2 instead of moving forward,” Rudeen said. “So, while wearing a mask kind of sucks, it's a small thing we can do to try to progress through stages and get a lower infection rate.”

RELATED: McCall businesses welcome visitors wearing masks

Krik explained to KTVB that continuing to open and close is actually worse off for businesses.

“That impact of a business to close and then re-open is pretty expensive,” he said. “It’s more expensive and emotionally harder on the business than to work slower and smarter. Our goal is keeping businesses open.”

The order also explains what someone needs to do when they go out to get a drink or a bite to eat. According to the order, people who are at a restaurant or brewery can take the mask off so long as they are able to keep a distance of six feet away from people who aren’t in their party.

The penalty for not following the order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, jail time, or both.

A spokesperson for Boise Police Department told KTVB that officers will focus on education before they start issuing citations. 

While Krik and Rudeen are excited about the Boise mask requirement, both would like to see the Central Health District expand it.

"I think the health district should be leading this effort," Krik said."To me that they haven’t taken action yet is concerning."

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