Brian Blad in a mask

The Pocatello City Council is hosting a special meeting on April 26 to reconsider its citywide mask mandate.

The Pocatello City Council has scheduled a special meeting for 1 p.m. Monday to reconsider its ordinance requiring the wearing of face masks in public places to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

At the City Council’s April 1 meeting, council members voiced support for removing the mask mandate upon meeting a threshold of 15 COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents for 14 consecutive days. Currently, the number of cases has been at this level since April 8, according to Southeastern Idaho Public Health.

There will be limited seating at City Hall for Monday’s meeting but citizens can watch a stream of the proceedings at streaming.pocatello.us.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health Director Maggie Mann said the city’s mask mandate has had a positive impact in terms of cases within the community, but there’s still some work to be done in regards to the virus.

“We’re very close to the point where we can remove masks, but before we’d like to see more people getting vaccinated to fully be comfortable with removing the mandate,” Mann said. “We’re not seeing the hospitalizations that we were seeing in the fall, but the reality is that we’re still having cases, and with the new variants, it’s too soon to completely let our guard down.”

Up until an official removal of the mandate is announced, all other previous rules regarding the mandate are to stay in place.

The ordinance states that those not complying with the mask mandate can be punished by a fine of up to $50, but this rule is seemingly loose. According to the Pocatello police, the department isn’t actively looking for those not wearing masks in public places.

For further information regarding COVID-19 and the current regulations, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.