Mountain Rides will continue to require masks on its buses through at least March 18, the Director of Transit Operations Kim MacPherson said in a statement on Wednesday.
The announcement comes as valley jurisdictions splinter over mask mandates, with Ketchum and Sun Valley ending emergency orders and Hailey and Blaine County keeping them in place.
Mountain Rides’ decision, though, doesn’t have to do with local changes, but rather federal compliance. The county’s Transportation Authority is funded by the Federal Transit Administration, and therefore must follow its rules, MacPherson said. Those rules, outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and implemented by the Transportation Security Administration, require face coverings “for all transportation networks” until March 18, 2022.
Both drivers and passengers must wear masks, according to the CDC policy. Anyone who doesn’t comply will be asked to disembark the bus “at the earliest safe opportunity,” Mountain Rides said in a statement.
Last week, the city councils of both Ketchum and Sun Valley voted to repeal mask mandates in their respective cities. Hailey and unincorporated Blaine County still have requirements in place. Bellevue, which is also served by Mountain Rides, hasn’t had a mask requirement since the fall. ￼