During a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Bellevue City Council voted 5-1 to pass an emergency health order making face masks mandatory in public.

Starting noon on Thursday, those found in violation of the order could face a $50 fine.

Wednesday’s vote flips policy from two weeks ago, when the council voted 2-3 not to pass an order, deciding instead to put forward an unenforceable resolution encouraging face masks. Councilmember Tammy Davis did not vote on the proposed order two weeks ago, but voted in favor this time.

In an interview with the Idaho Mountain Express, Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns called the vote “a significant turnaround.”

“They changed their minds based on information from the medical community and the increased number of COVID cases being reported,” Burns said.

Burns said City Councilmember Chris Johnson voted against the order, citing concerns that it didn’t provide a specific enough definition of face mask construction, which he thought left open the risk of people wearing inadequate protection.

Two other councilmembers, Doug Brown and Sean Mahoney, switched their votes in favor of the order, Burns said. Council President Kathryn Goldman and Councilmember Greg Cappel both supported the original order. 

With Bellevue on board, all jurisdictions in the county except Carey now have a mask requirement in place. Hailey, Blaine County, Ketchum and Sun Valley had all adopted mandates as of last week.

The order goes into effect at noon on Thursday and will remain in place until further notice.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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