September 24, 2020 (Moscow, Idaho) --
On Monday, Sep. 21, 2020, the Moscow City Council extended Amended Public Health Emergency Order 20-03, which has been in place since Jul. 2, 2020. This Order requires non-household members to maintain 6-foot physical distancing when in public or wear a face covering. Any person in violation of this Order may be charged with a misdemeanor. For the full text of this Order, as well as the exemptions, please see [insert link]. Since Jul. 2, 2020, Moscow Police Officers have educated the community about the Amended Public Health Emergency Order No. 20-03, have provided face coverings, and have issued written warnings.
On Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2020, the City became aware of a gathering scheduled to be held in the parking lot at City Hall at 4:45 p.m. In consideration of the gathering, the City provided an empty parking lot with ground markings placed 6-feet apart to aid attendees in social distancing. The main speaker at the event was informed that under Amended Public Health Emergency Order 20-03, 6-foot physical distancing was required and if attendees were not able to social distance, then face coverings would be required. The main speaker announced to the attendees that the Amended Public Health Emergency Order 20-03 would be enforced.
During the 15-minute event, it appeared that some household groups were staying together and distancing from others. However, several individuals appeared to be in violation of the Order, and law enforcement officers approached those individuals. Upon confirmation that the individuals were unwilling to comply with the Order by either social distancing from non-household members or wearing a face covering, five attendees were cited for violating the Order. Of those cited, two individuals were also cited for Resisting and Obstructing, and three individuals were arrested and released from custody the same day. The five individuals that received citations will be prosecuted according to law.
Amended Public Health Emergency Order 20-03 was established on Jul. 1, 2020, and extended by Resolution on Aug. 3 and again on Sep. 21. The Mayor has the authority to issue Public Health Emergency Orders by virtue of the Idaho Constitution, laws of the State of Idaho, Moscow City Code Title 1-11-05(B), and common-law authority to protect the public in the event of an emergency.
Story Contact: James Fry, Chief of Police