Hailey Mayor Martha Burke rescinded the city’s mask mandate on Friday afternoon in response to new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control, effectively ending COVID-19 restrictions in the city.

On Thursday, the CDC issued new recommendations stating that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or stay physically apart from others “except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.”

“It is important that government officials respond to guidance based on data in order to hold the public’s trust,” Burke said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The Hailey City Council will convene in a special meeting on Monday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m. to consider Burke’s mask rescindment.

The move, which took effect immediately on Friday, unwinds the last of Hailey's COVID-19 public health rules, closely following three other COVID-19 restrictions voided by the city this week. A revised emergency health order signed by Burke on Tuesday lifted the city’s outdoor and indoor gathering limits, previously capped at 50 and 10 people, respectively. It also lifted the city’s outdoor mask-wearing requirement, which applied only to those standing or sitting fewer than 6 feet apart outside.

Hailey’s indoor mask mandate required residents to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, with exceptions for people eating or drinking at food establishments, children under 5 years old and those with disabilities.

At the start of the pandemic, Hailey was one of the first jurisdictions in Idaho to implement a mask requirement. Now, it's the first to remove it. Ketchum, Sun Valley and Bellevue still require masks. The Ketchum city council is expected to discuss its requirement during a meeting on Monday.  

In a council meeting on Monday, Burke noted that Blaine County has seen a drastic reduction in COVID-19 cases and has an overall vaccination rate of about 75%. That number, drawn from a briefing the previous week, is buoyed by Ketchum and Sun Valley; due to second-home owners and visitors vaccinated while in the area, the two north valley cities have vaccination rates over 100%, meaning more people have been inoculated in the towns than live there full time.

Hailey has a vaccination rate around 57%, Burke said. Bellevue and Carey lag further behind, with rates of 40% and 18%, respectively.

According to the city, about 74% of adults in the South Central Public Health District have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. 

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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