The City of Boise will again require masks at indoor city-owned facilities, the city announced Tuesday afternoon. The requirement will not impact other businesses around the area not owned and operated by the city.
The requirement goes into effect tomorrow, July 28th, and applies to everyone – regardless of vaccination status.
“The health and safety of our employees and residents is always our top priority,” City of Boise Chief of Staff Courtney Washburn said. “Wearing masks is a proven way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and until there is a higher vaccine rate and fewer positive COVID-19 cases in Ada County, this step is necessary to protect our team and our residents who rely on the services the city provides.”
The new mandate covers Boise City Hall, City Hall West, the Boise Public Library, branch libraries, recreation facilities, water renewal facilities, and city office buildings.
The city said it will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps if needed.
The City of Boise dropped its mask mandate on May 14th, immediately following CDC guidance that unvaccinated people no longer needed to wear face coverings indoors.
Central District Health recommendation
The Central District Health Dept. said it “recommends” people wear masks whenever they are indoors with other people, following the CDC guidelines.
“Under the updated guidance, all four of the counties served by CDH currently fall under substantial or high transmission, therefore, CDH recommends that individuals in these communities wear a mask in indoor public settings, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccine status,” the health district wrote in a news release.
The CDC’s tracker says that both Ada & Canyon counties are in the “substantial” category for community transmission. Several Idaho counties, including Valley, Twin Falls, and others in north and east Idaho fall in the high category that meets the CDC’s criteria for suggested indoor mask use.
Rising cases, plateauing vaccination rates
Earlier in the day, the CDC announced it would again recommend people wear masks indoors in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates. It also said kids should wear masks in school this fall. The agency said so-called “breakthrough” cases of vaccinated individuals catching the virus remain rare, but vaccinated people could carry and transmit the virus to unvaccinated people, according to CNBC. The so-called delta variant continues to grow in terms of the portion of all cases across the US.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 started to creep up in Ada Co. in early July, after bottoming out. As of July 26th, the daily 7-day average of cases stands at 12 per 100,000 residents for Ada County — far below the peak of 90 cases per 100,000 in December.
The latest death recorded in Ada County from COVID-19 came during the week of June 20th, according to Central District Health.
Vaccine uptake in Idaho remains far behind the national average. About 52.5% of all Idahoans over the age of 18 have taken at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That compares with 69.1% across the US. Ada County is tied for the second most-vaccinated county in the state, behind Blaine County. Sixty percent of Ada Co. residents over the age of 12 have been vaccinated. In Canyon County, that number stands at 42%.