On Monday Sept. 13th the Teton County Board of Commissioners voted to enact a renewed mask mandate, which is printed on the front page of this week’s B section.
The move comes as regional hospitals have lost significant ICU capacity for Covid-19 patients amid the threat of the Delta variant.
While the City of Driggs voted last week not to implement a mask mandate, the City of Victor has had one instituted since Aug. 26th. The City of Tetonia has no mandate in place at this time.
Victor Mayor Will Frohlich gave a statment commending the county for it’s action on the recent Covid-19 surge.
“I am encouraged by the county’s recent decision to implement a mask mandate. I am also hopeful that Driggs, Tetonia, and the school district soon implement a mandate as well. The health and safety of this community is our priority, so we must be unified and proactive with our approach. My hope is that we are not too late, and that we can keep businesses open, kids in school and prevent our local medical facilities from collapsing,” said Mayor Frohlich.
The TVN also reached out to Driggs Mayor Hyrum Johnson, who did not issue a statement by press time.
With Teton County and Victor having instituted a mask requirement, and Driggs and Tetonia yet to do so, there are sure to be questions about enforcment as well as where a mask is required and where it is not.
This is a developing story so look for more coverage from the TVN as more information becomes available.
Update 9/14 1:00pm:
Driggs Mayor Hyrum Johnson did respond to the TVN Tuesday morning with a statement regarding the County's decision.
"The County's decision to implement a mandate does not in any way impact Driggs. The City continues to monitor the situation and will take the measures determined to be appropriate and necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of our community," said Mayor Johnson.
Mayor Johnson stressed that he sees the surge as a result of unsatisfactory vaccine adoption, something that a mask mandate does not effect.
"As I've said before, the impact of a local mandate is unlikely to achieve the outcome we need, namely reducing the overcrowding of our hospitals. Of course we know that credible science backs the wearing of masks in reducing the spread of COVID, and we do know that our hospitals (both here in Driggs and regionally) are tremendously over-run with COVID patients right now, but what we have is a vaccine adoption problem, not a mask problem. We need more people to receive the safe and effective COVID vaccines, which are proven to work and are freely available to all over the age of 12," said Mayor Johnson.
"We'll continue to monitor the situation and take the steps we believe will achieve the outcome needed for the health, safety, and welfare of our community. I expect the City Council will discuss this option again at it's next regular meeting next week."