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Mask campaign gains ground

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 14, 2020 1:05 AM

Hundreds more given out

COEUR d’ALENE — When confronted by a 15-month-old boy and a 3-year-old Siberian Husky Thursday afternoon, Coeur d’Alene Deputy Fire Chief Bill Deruyter knew what to do.

He gave the toddler a red firefighter helmet and petted the dog.

That led to laughs and smiles all around during the city of Coeur d’Alene’s mask giveaway at Cherry Hill Park.

“It’s great to see the local law enforcement looking out for the health of the community,” said Jordyn Mikesell, mom of little Cedar and owner of Neeman, who walked up and received one of the bags with five disposable masks and other items like stickers, lip balm and sanitizer.

In the first of a three-hour event on a sunny afternoon, the city gave away about 500 disposable masks as people turned out to claim the protective wear against the coronavirus.

This was the second giveaway for the “Stop the Spread, Wear a Mask Campaign,” an initiative led by health organizations, cities, schools and businesses. A similar one last week saw thousands of masks handed out in a few hours at Lake City High School.

The masks were purchased by the Fire Department through the CARES Act, and approved by the state of Idaho for public outreach programs.

The campaign to promote the use of masks in public when social distancing isn’t possible, as recently mandated by the Panhandle Health District, is gaining traction, officials said.

Many businesses now require customers to wear a mask. And more people are wearing them when leaving home.

“Everybody that stopped today is wearing their mask and they’re thanking us for giving them out and supporting the mask program,” Deruyter said.

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BILL BULEY/Press Coeur d’Alene Deputy Fire Chief Bill Deruyter chats with people who stopped by the mask giveaway Thursday at Cherry Hill Park.