The Ketchum City Council voted to rescind the city’s COVID-19 emergency health order on Monday, thereby removing local regulations and leaving the city under the state’s COVID mitigation guidelines. The decision came after a split 2-2 vote by the council, with Mayor Neil Bradshaw casting the deciding vote. The mayor only votes in the event of a tie.

Councilman Jim Slanetz and Councilwoman Amanda Breen voted in favor of Slanetz’s motion to rescind the order, which included regulations that required masks and social distancing, limited group sizes and mandated specific measures for certain businesses. Council President Courtney Hamilton and Councilman Michael David voted against the motion.

Bradshaw said the split vote was “probably indicative of our community.” He asked people to continue to “stay safe” and said he hopes the decision “serves us well.”

“This is not easy. It’s never been easy,” Bradshaw said. “And I’m truly thankful for everyone—the medical community, the frontline workers, people at the grocery stores, all keeping us all safe. And, again, now the onus goes onto personal responsibility.”

The decision came amid the backdrop of an unexpected announcement last week from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear masks indoors or outdoors, except where required by federal, state or local regulations, or by private businesses.

Individual business owners can apply their own rules about masks.

With the city’s order rescinded, Ketchum will now fall under the state’s COVID mitigation measures. The state is currently in Stage 4 of its Idaho Rebounds reopening program. Stage 4 encourages all eligible people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, “strongly” recommends face coverings “per guidance from CDC,” and places no limitations on gathering sizes but states people at gatherings “should adhere to physical distancing and sanitation guidelines.”

Ketchum’s decision follows similar moves by the governments of Hailey and Sun Valley. Click the links to read more on those cities. For the full story, see the Wednesday edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.

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