KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - Surrounding cities such as Spokane, Moscow and Boise all have mask mandates while Kootenai County does not.

Across the Panhandle area, the number of new COVID 19 cases has been climbing every day. On Friday, July 10, there were 81 new cases reported.

We are seeing a larger increase in cases in Kootenai County then we are in Spokane county per capita. With a .04% daily increase in Kootenai County and .01% in Spokane County.

KHQ asked a random person in downtown Coeur d'Alene who wasn't wearing a mask for his thoughts on if we should have a mask mandate.

He said he thinks wearing a mask is a good idea, but, "I'm not really in favor of the government telling me that I have to wear a mask, I think as rule of social conscious it's a good idea," he said.

That is exactly why the Mayor of Coeur d'Alene said he strongly encourages wearing a mask, but will not vote in favor of a mask mandate.

Mayor Steve Widmyer told KHQ it is a personal responsibility.

He said in a statement:

" I strongly encourage the wearing of a mask when social distancing is not possible. I believe it’s the right thing to do to keep yourself and others safe. Personally, I wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. Controlling this virus is a partnership between government and the citizens. The government helps provide testing, health care, and all the health care guidelines. The citizens need to take those guidelines and act accordingly. It’s being personally responsible. It’s caring for your fellow citizens. I will continue to strongly encourage personal responsibility. That being said, I would not vote to mandate masks."

Right now, both the Mayor and Panhandle Health District are just strongly encouraging people to wear a mask when you cannot social distance.