New Kootenai Co. Sheriff says he will not enforce mask mandate

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — Kootenai County’s new sheriff said Monday he will not enforce the current mask mandate.

The mandate, which applies to five North Idaho counties, was put into place by the Panhandle Health District in November. At the time of the decision, all five counties were in the “red” risk category. That remains true; in its latest update, PHD said 94 people were hospitalized because of the virus and 192 had died from it.

Despite this, Sheriff Robert Norris said it is not law enforcement’s job to “get between you, your health and your doctor. Period.”

Instead, Norris suggested that those with certain risks take extra precautions.

“We trust citizens to assess their own risk and take the necessary precautions based on their own risk factors,” Norris said.

RELATED: Panhandle Health Board implements mask mandate for all five N. Idaho counties