Yesterday the city of Hailey, Idaho updated the city’s emergency health order to require all residents to wear face masks in public and obligating businesses to enforce that edict. The City Council no longer cares about medical exemptions nor actual data showing the ineffectiveness of the mask and instead are imposing harsh penalties such as shuttering businesses that fail to tattle on non-mask wearing patrons.
The Hailey City Council hides behind the tired old rhetoric that COVID-19 is some kind of silent killer that will sneak up on you out of thin air and kill you. They see it perfectly reasonable to shut down businesses and destroy people’s lives while they hide in fear in their basements. They use their authority as a safety blanket while high fiving each other for being heroes and saving lives from an evil pandemic with a 97% to 99% survival rate (Source: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html).
Let’s be honest: The Hailey City Council does not really believe they are doing this because of COVID. They are not doing this for any other reason than to see how far they can push their authority on their residents. While they claim to follow the science, they conveniently ignore a new study where 11 medical institutions analyzed a group of people who tested positive in July and found that over 70% had always worn a mask and another 14.4% often wore one (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf). They would not be able to explain how masks work against the virus that is spread via small airborne particles instead of the large droplet and sprays that the masks protect against. And, make no mistake, they would look you straight in the eye and continue to maintain they are the ones listening to the scientists all while gushing about the seemingly magical effectiveness of a piece of cloth.
Yet, another item of the City Council’s edict is perhaps more troubling than imposition of a permanent Halloween within city limits: The City of Hailey will shut down businesses for non-compliance. If you were lucky enough to rent an airplane hangar for your retail shop location, Mayor Martha Burke will magnanimously allow you to have more than 10 people in your store. Otherwise, you best hope that your customers are understanding enough to line up outside so that you may not be forced to shut down your livelihood and enter poverty levels.
If this was about health and the public good then there would not be exceptions for people eating and drinking in restaurants (unless Councilman Sam Linnet is advocating that COVID-19 avoids people while eating), if this was about your well-being the City Council would respect pre-existing medical conditions that are aggravated by mask wearing.
In perhaps a stroke of genius, Gov. Brad Little clarified his statewide orders and distanced his office from overbearing local decisions with a statement released on September 25, 2020. In it he states, “The Governor’s emergency order does not give local governments the authority to create and enforce mask mandates; they would have that authority with or without an emergency order based on the laws passed by the Legislature.” Therefore, the local governments are free to dictate how this must be observed in their own communities (granting the wish of the Idaho Legislation to bring government down to the level closest to each constituent) and at the same time they are not able to hide behind some statewide decree. The overreach is completely theirs to own. In contrast, Mayor Randy Patterson of Carey, Idaho released an email to Idaho Dispatch stating the following: “I believe that people are smart enough to make good choices. Different people have different risk tolerances. Some are very fearful and some feel that while it is a risk, they can accept the risk. I supported what their decisions either way.” What a concept! A politician who regards their constituents as functioning adults and respects their decisions either way! Yet in today’s fear mongering from the Left about how the COVID sky is falling, he will be the one labeled as radical in his approach.
We are thankful to the Hailey City Council for showing their true colors to their constituents. We have always maintained that elections have consequences and local elections tend to affect our lives the most. We call on the residents of the City of Hailey (and all Idahoans) to not forget this moment and vote accordingly in future elections. We also call on Hailey Police Chief Steve England to stay out of the enforcement of this edict. While the science, the politics, and the opinions remain split and shift on a daily basis, we caution against images of police officers shutting down businesses and forcing people out of work, especially during a time where the narrative from the Left is that all cops overreach their authority and systematically enforce tyranny upon the community they are supposed to protect and serve.
Perhaps Mayor Burke and the Hailey City Council can explain to us why they seem to hate their residents so much and if they are planning on paying people’s bills while they increase unemployment and poverty levels within their city limits. The fight for our freedoms will begin in January during the legislative session. Until then our duty is to gather evidence of such local cases of overreach and research the precedence that is sets. Our goal remains to provide a remedy to curb the Governor’s unchecked executive fiat and the Idaho Legislature’s misstep allowing such abuses of power.
We will be watching.