McLean events policies news conference

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean speaks during a virtual news conference Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. McLean announced new COVID-19 policies for events permitted by the city.

BOISE — Large events permitted by the city of Boise or utilizing city-owned property will be required to mandate patrons prove they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine or recently tested negative for the coronavirus, Mayor Lauren McLean announced Tuesday.

Events with more than 250 patrons must require vaccine or negative test proof. Additionally, event organizers must provide masks for attendees and require they be worn indoors and outdoors when six feet of distance between patrons can’t be maintained. Events must also have “COVID-19 protocol ambassadors,” and organizers are required to submit a COVID-19 safety plan to the city for approval.

“We’re taking these steps so that events in our community can continue safely,” McLean said during a virtual news conference Tuesday. “Boiseans care about each other. It’s who we are, and we need to step up now, once again, for each other.”

McLean also announced new rules for events with fewer than 250 patrons. Proof of vaccination or a negative test is not required for the smaller events, but masks must be mandated, indoors and outdoors when six feet of distancing is not possible, and must be provided by event organizers. Smaller event organizers must also have COVID-19 protocol ambassadors, and they must submit a plan to the city.

The new rules, effective Friday, are required only for events permitted by the city or held on city property.

The rules apply to Treefort Music Fest, which begins next week. But organizers for the festival previously announced vaccination or negative test requirements. And on Tuesday, they announced a mask requirement, as well.

McLean urged Boiseans to wear masks in public, to get vaccinated, if possible, and to encourage unvaccinated friends and family to get the shot.

“The single most effective way to end this pandemic and its variants is to get the vaccine,” she said.

The new rules come after several recent events that would have been impacted, including the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, Boise Art Museum’s Art in the Park and the Boise Pride Festival. McLean said Tuesday she and other city officials began discussing the new rules over the weekend.

Upcoming events that will be impacted include several YMCA runs: the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon (Saturday), Harrison Classic Kids Run (Oct. 10) and Halloween Monster Mile and Freaky 5K (Oct. 23). Also upcoming is the Turkey Day 5K (Nov. 25).

Boise State Broncos sporting events are not permitted by the city and will not be affected by the new rules.

Ryan Suppe is the Boise City Hall and Treasure Valley business reporter for the Idaho Press. Contact him at 208-344-2055 (ext. 3038). Follow him on Twitter @salsuppe.