Protesters gather as Panhandle Health Board discusses possible mask mandate

Protesters outside of PHD board meeting 2
Copyright 4 News Now

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — People gathered outside of the Panhandle Health District Board’s meeting on Thursday to protest a possible mask mandate.

Protesters were not allowed in the meeting as Idaho is in Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan, which limits group gatherings to no more than 10 people.

The board is discussing a mandate as North Idaho deals with rising COVID-19 case rates and as hospitals operate at near capacity.

Details of the possible mandate were not made known in the board’s agenda, but it could affect individual counties or all of the counties served by the PHD, if passed.

This would not be the first time the board has implemented a mask mandate. One was in place for Kootenai County residents earlier this year, but the board lifted the mandate in October, following increased resistance from the public.

Even when it was in place, it was not largely enforced.

Since then, cities have taken efforts into their own hands. The Coeur d’Alene City Council passed a resolution requiring masks within city limits and the Post Falls City Council voted on Tuesday to require masks on city property, and encourage them in city limits.

The cities of Wallace, Kellogg and Moscow have also implemented mask mandates.

Mandates are being handled at the local level as Gov. Brad Little has refrained from issuing a statewide order. Idaho is one of 14 states that has not required face coverings.