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'Not interested in being the mask police': Hailey Police chief asks community to follow citywide mask ordinance

In a Facebook post, Chief Steve England said the Hailey Police Department will enforce the city's public health order if residents continue to ignore it.

HAILEY, Idaho — Hailey Police Chief Steve England took to Facebook on Tuesday to remind community members that the city of Hailey does currently have a mask ordinance in place.

In the post, England said the Hailey Police Department (HPD) is "not interested in being the 'mask police'" in addition to responding to other complaints and concerns, but will do so if people continue to ignore the health order.

Hailey first issued a mask mandate in July 2020 but rescinded the order as COVID-19 cases dropped in the area. A new health order was issued on Sept. 14, 2021 and will be reviewed by the Hailey City Council on Oct. 12.

In July 2020, England also took to Facebook to remind residents that the mask mandate was in place and needed to be followed.

"When I previously addressed the issue over a year ago on this same platform, I was a little kinder about it than I am going to be on this post," England wrote on Tuesday.

HPD is receiving an increased number of complaints regarding individuals not following the city's current public health order, according to the post. Mainly, complaints are coming from certain retail stores and restaurants.

"Let me make one more thing very clear, as Hailey Police Officers, we swore an oath to support all laws, which include the Ordinances of the City of Hailey," England wrote. "Simply put, if push comes to shove, we will enforce the Public Health Order that was voted into place by our duly elected officials. Please do not force our hand on this issue.  All we ask from each and every one of you is that you abide by all of the current local laws that are in place, and at this current time those laws include the wearing of facial coverings while in specific places as outlined in the Public Health Order. " 

England added that the initial goal of the city's ordinance was to educate people on mask use and, ideally, get people to abide by it that way. However, he said he now questions if the educational goal is effective at this point.

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