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Idaho House panel approves prohibition on mask mandates

The new bill allows hospitals and other healthcare facilities to require masks. Private businesses can also continue to require masks.

BOISE, Idaho — Legislation to prohibit mask mandates by government entities in Idaho is headed to the House. The House State Affairs Committee on Monday approved the measure that's a reworked version of previous legislation that banned mask mandates at medical facilities. 

The new bill allows hospitals and other healthcare facilities to require masks. Private businesses can also continue to require masks.

"The intent of this bill is to free our people," Idaho Rep. Karey Hanks (R-St. Anthony). "That they don't have to wear these medical devices that are difficult and even impossible for them to wear."

Republican Gov. Brad Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, but a handful of counties and about a dozen cities currently have such mandates in place. 

Officials report that the coronavirus has infected more than 175,000 Idaho residents and killed more than 1,900.

 

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