Hailey City Hall

The Hailey City Council voted 2-1 on Tuesday evening to extend its emergency health order by 30 days and continue to require face coverings in public until Thursday, Nov. 11.

Mayor Martha Burke’s original proposal on Tuesday was to extend the order by 90 days—until January 2022—with the option to repeal it at any point. Councilwomen Heidi Husbands and Kaz Thea said that a 90-day duration would be too long and suggested a 30-day extension instead.

“Our community has gotten so split over this. Ninety days just sounds so heavy,” Thea said. “If we push it out too far, it creates angst. I’d rather not encourage that.”

Councilman Juan Martinez, the dissenting vote, asked for a two-week extension of the order until Oct. 25, the date of the next council meeting. He said his hope was that the order would be repealed at the next council meeting ahead of Election Day, Nov. 2.

“We’re not prepared to take on people that are going to oppose [masks],” he said, adding that poll workers are “not trained to deal with that.”

“Also, I think Sam deserves a chance to speak on this,” Martinez said, referring to Councilman Sam Linnet, who was absent Tuesday.

The City Council will convene again on Nov. 8 to reassess the city’s health situation and decide how to proceed with the order, either repealing it, extending it or modifying and extending it.

Unlike previous health orders, the current health order does not require businesses to enforce mask-wearing with signage.

Husbands said the city should add a signage requirement to remove the burden of enforcement from employees and business owners.

“It would help Albertsons, Atkinsons, to know that the city is behind them, backing them,” she said.

For full coverage of Tuesday’s meeting, pick up a copy of the Friday Express.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com