Idaho staying in Stage 4: Little encourages wearing masks, but ‘doubts’ he will issue statewide mandate

Idaho Gov Brad Little

BOISE, Idaho — Governor Brad Little on Thursday announced Idaho will stay in Stage 4 for another two weeks. He took time to encourage Idahoans to wear masks, but said he “doubts” he will issue a statewide mandate.

“The one thing that will dramatically slow the spread of coronavirus is for everyone to wear a mask,” Little said. “I agree with President Trump, it’s the patriotic thing to do.”

The governor addressed the increasing spread of COVID-19 in several counties, including Kootenai, but said he is, at this time, leaving decisions to local health districts.

Ada County in southern Idaho has already put a mask mandate in place, the City of Moscow has done the same and, on Thursday, the Panhandle Health District will meet to discuss issuing a requirement across North Idaho.

The Coeur d’Alene City Council has also discussed issuing their own city mandate should the PHD decide not to require masks.

Little said he is seeing proof that more and more Idahoans are voluntarily using masks and added that many private businesses are also requiring them. He added that if Idaho inches closer to the “red line” that “something might have to happen.”

A report prepared for the White House and released last week said that Idaho is already in the “red zone.”

READ: Report shows Idaho in ‘red zone’ as COVID-19 cases surge

RELATED: Kootenai Co. launches ‘Wear a Mask’ campaign day before mask mandate discussion

READ: Hacked meeting, outside protest; Health board declines action on mandatory masks in North Idaho