Moscow’s Physical Distancing and Face Covering Public Health Order
Social distancing or physical distancing and face coverings – it’s all new to all of us. We know these new requirements aren’t clear-cut in every circumstance. We also know that slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community is key to keeping our healthcare system available for all healthcare needs, to avoid unnecessary losses of life, and to keep our economy viable. We know social distancing and wearing masks is the best way to help protect our friends and neighbors. We see this topic is creating disagreement and division in our community. We hope fellow Muscovites will treat each other with respect and kindness as we all learn to navigate these unprecedented times together.
A combination of physical distancing and face coverings in Moscow is required when in public. In public spaces, social distancing is the most challenging piece of the puzzle to define. For instance, while any patron may fully intend to physically distance themselves from another in a store aisle, sometimes the best intentions don’t work out. These instances are when face coverings or masks are a great tool to help protect our friends and neighbors.
On September 21 the Council unanimously passed a Resolution to continue the Amended Public Health Emergency to January 5, 2021. The Order requires each of us to maintain a physical distancing of 6-feet from non-household members when in a public setting AND if that distancing can’t be maintained, wear a face covering unless there is a health or disability exemption. Face coverings are defined as any material that securely covers the nose and mouth, creating a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air. The face coverings may be made of a variety of materials, including but not limited to, cotton, silk, linen, flax, wool, ramie, denim, polyester, or a combination of materials or paper. The Resolution and Order are not guidelines – it is the law.
The Moscow Police Department Officers are working with the community to help educate, empathize with exemptions, and enforce as appropriate. If there is an instance where physical distancing isn’t being maintained, and masks aren’t being worn, call 208-882-COPS. MPD Officers will look into every situation seen and reported. Many cases reported to date include someone wearing a mask visiting a public place and are worried about others in that space not wearing masks. Since the Order has been in place, MPD Officers have been focusing on educating the allegedly non-compliant citizens. The enforcement process could include talking to the business owner or patron to determine if they are aware of the Order and if they meet the exemption criteria. Exemptions are essential to provide for the health of those who manage other health issues such as medical, mental health, or other sensory sensitivities or disabilities as advised by their physician. Once the Order and exemptions criteria are reviewed, enforcement may become necessary. If a person refuses to comply with the law, officers may give a verbal warning, a written warning (a copy of which is shown here), or a misdemeanor citation may be issued. The maximum punishment for a misdemeanor is up to six months imprisonment in county jail and a $1,000 fine.
For more information, call the City of Moscow at 208-883-7080. Click here for a list of exemptions and to review the full amended order.
Actions Taken in Response to COVID-19
This City of Moscow’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) response is designed to follow and support State and Federal guidelines. The City of Moscow has taken several actions in the past weeks in support of those guidelines in an effort to mitigate and prevent the impacts of COVID-19 in our area. Actions taken in regards to COVID-19 include the following:
- City Staff presented to Administrative and Public Works Finance Committees the process for updating the City’s Pandemic Preparedness Plan.
- Weekly regional meetings in Latah County kick off.
- Weekly regional meetings Whitman County attended by Moscow representatives.
- President of the United States issues Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak.
- Mayor Lambert issues Proclamation of Local Disaster Emergency in the City of Moscow due to COVID-19, effective for 7 days.
- City Staff presented updated Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan to City Council.
- Council passed Resolution 2020-05 authorizing extension of March 13 declaration, extending the Mayor’s March 13, Proclamation of Local Disaster Emergency . Extends March 13 Proclamation of local disaster to May 5.
- City provides curb-side signage and approval for interested businesses.
- 116th Congress passes Family First Coronavirus Response Act.
- Council approves addition of City Code – Emergency Powers Ordinance (Ordinance 2020-03 was approved unanimously establishing enactment of Title 1 Chapter 11- Moscow City Code Entitled Emergency Powers).
- Mayor issues Public Health Emergency Order 20-01: Restricts gatherings of groups of more than ten persons within the boundaries of the City of Moscow. This prohibits dine-in service for bars and restaurants, but the Order does provide for curbside pick-up, take-out and drive-through of food and/or drink service. These limitations and restrictions do not apply to businesses that serve fewer than ten individuals at a time, nor do they apply to grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies, nor to emergency overnight or day shelters that provide food service to persons experiencing homelessness. Effective for 7 days.
- Council approves Resolution 2020-06:, extending Emergency Order 20-01 to May 5.
- Mayor Lambert issues Public Health Emergency Order 20-02: Order No. 20-02 orders "there shall be no gatherings in groups of more than ten (10) persons within a facility within the boundaries of the City of Moscow." This mass gathering order applies to the general public which includes educational institutions and any assembly, including churches and religious organizations. Order No. 20-02, also includes business closures for gyms, tattoo parlors, barber shops and salons. Orders 20-01 and 20-02 do not apply to childcare/daycare services and facilities.
- Governor Brad Little Issues Statewide Stay-At-Home Order.
- Council approves Resolution 2020-07: Extends Emergency Order 20-02 to May 5.
- Governor Brad Little Issues Statewide Stay Healthy Order (PDF), initiating Stage 1 of Idaho Rebounds.
- Council approves Resolution 2020-09: Terminates the Mayor’s Proclamation of Local Disaster Emergency and Public Health Emergency Orders 20-01 and 20-02
- Due to significant increases in COVID-19 cases and escalating exposure concerns, Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert issues Amended Public Health Emergency Order No. 20-03 (PDF), (APHEO 20-03) requiring face coverings and six-foot social/physical distancing in Moscow, Idaho. Given the extreme concern of the impacts of COVID-19 in Moscow, the public health emergency order is effective at midnight on July 2, 2020. The Moscow City Council will consider the order at their regular meeting on Monday, July 6, 2020, at 7 pm.
- City Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2020-17 Continuation of Amended Public Health Emerg Order 20-03, extending Public health Emergency Order 20-03 until October 6, 2020 and to adopt the following definition of face covering:
- Face covering is defined as any material that securely covers the nose and mouth, creating a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air. The face coverings may be made of a variety of materials, including but not limited to, cotton, silk, linen, flax, wool, ramie, denim, polyester, or a combination of materials or paper.
- City Council unanimously voted to adopt Resolution 2020-22 Continuation of Amended Public Health Emerg Order 20-03 to January 5, 2021, extending Public health Emergency Order 20-03 until January 5, 2021.
November 9, 2020
Metrics Accepted by City Council for consideration of rescinding APHEO 20-03:
Additional Factors to be Considered:
- Review of recommendations of the City’s institutional partners:
- Latah County
- Gritman Medical Center
- The University of Idaho
- Moscow School District
- COVID-19 Conditions in Whitman County
- Although a different assessment tool is utilized by the State of Washington, the data could be standardized with Idaho’s metrics by applying the PH-INCD assessment tool to Whitman County’s numbers.
December 7, 2020
- City Council unanimously voted to adopt Resolution 2020-17 Continued Acceptance and Extension of The Mayor's Amended Public Health Emergency Order 20-03 to 11:59 pm, on June 9, 2021