CANYON COUNTY, Idaho — The Board of Canyon County Commissioners extended the COVID-19 emergency declaration on Friday, despite pleas from citizens who said the declaration forces them to wear a mask and businesses to close, writes Idaho Press reporter Rachel Spacek. The declaration does neither of those things, however. Rather, it gives the county the option to secure federal and state aid and maintain uninterrupted operations during the emergency.
Canyon County has never had a mask mandate and has never issued countywide business closures.
“Canyon County has not used the Declaration to issue any health-related mandate, nor to order any closure or impose any COVID-19 related limitation on any private business or individual,” the declaration reads.
Along with opening the door to federal and state aid, the emergency declaration has been used to coordinate countywide emergency communication and facilitate first responder access to personal protective equipment.
Citizens who testified at Friday’s meeting urged commissioners to end the emergency declaration, falsely claiming the declaration led to their unemployment and business closures.
Commissioners voted 2-1 to extend the declaration. You can read Spacek's full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Saturday's print edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.
Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.
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