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Governor issues statewide stay-home order, signs extreme emergency declaration

photo of cancelled activities sign

Gov. Brad Little ordered Idahoans to stay home for the next 21 days. Photo by Sharon Fisher

Updated on March 26 to clarify the number of states with stay-home orders.

Following the guidance of Idaho’s public health experts, Gov. Brad Little issued a statewide stay-home order on March 25 for all Idahoans. The announcement was made at a press conference held upstairs from the state’s emergency operations center at the Idaho National Guard base at Gowen Field in Boise.

The statewide stay-home order is effective immediately and will remain in effect for 21 days. Little and public health officials will evaluate later whether to extend the order past 21 days. Idaho is the 20th state to issue a stay-home order.

“Idaho is now in a new stage,” Little began. “Confirmed community transmission is now occurring in Idaho’s most densely populated areas.”

Little explained the reason for the step-up in emergency measures: “We’re sticking with what we’ve been (doing) all along, which is the CDC guidance … When you have community spread, then you have to go to the next level. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re following what we’ve said from my very first press conferences, (which is) following the guidance from the Center for Disease Control.”

The Governor signed an “extreme emergency declaration,” which allows the state to more effectively increase health care capacity, take steps to slow the COVID-19 virus’s spread and take rapid and decisive steps to improve the lives of Idahoans whose job and incomes are being harmed by the pandemic.

The stay-home order requires citizens to self-isolate at home even when not visibly sick. This excludes essential workers as defined in the full-text order, which will be posted on coronavirus.idaho.gov. People can leave home to obtain or provide essential services, which are also defined in the order.

Essential workers include health care, public safety and childcare providers. Essential services include grocery stores, medical facilities, gas stations and drug stores, among others.

Employers that do not provide essential services must take all steps necessary for employees to work remotely from home. Essential businesses will remain open. Restaurants across the state are being ordered to close dine-in, but drive-thru, pick up and delivery will still be available.

Non-essential businesses and services will close their physical locations. This includes bars, nightclubs, gyms, recreational facilities, entertainment venues, convention centers, hair and nail salons and others not included in the “essential” category as defined in the order.

Limitations are also in effect for discretionary travel and non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals outside the household. When walking, running, biking or engaging in other outdoor recreation, people are advised to stay 6 feet away from individuals who are not members of the same household.

“Our health care and public safety workers are putting themselves in harm’s way to respond to the coronavirus emergency, and we owe it to them to do our part by following this statewide stay-home order,” Little added.

Idaho is also taking steps to protect workers who have lost their jobs, people who may not be able to pay rent and citizens who might not be able to make utility and other payments during the emergency. Marissa Morrison, the Governor’s press secretary, said that details on unemployment claims and other aid will be issued by March 27.

At the Governor’s request, the National Guard is prepared to assemble a joint task force to provide mobile testing support; transport commodities; provide facilities, tents or other equipment; and perform other duties as needed in Idaho’s coronavirus response effort. The Idaho Office of Emergency Management, part of the Idaho Military Division, is the key emergency response planner and coordinator for inter-agency preparedness in Idaho.

“We will get through this together as long as we all play an active part in fighting the spread of coronavirus. I am proud of Idaho and the way we support and love our neighbors. Let’s keep it up,” Little concluded.

About Catie Clark


  1. @Avery Murphy – Like all of us, Governor Little is making the best decisions possible with the information available at the time. No one has all the answers.

    Please work on your anger issues and find a way to put something positive into the world. Health starts in the mind and your thoughts and actions infect many.

    Consider this:

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    ― Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni

  2. @Avery Murphy Thanks for your non-political political commentary. Have you pointed out all the Democratic Governors that are taking the same inaction as Governor Little? Like Gov. Edwards of Louisiana who insisted the Mardi Gras MUST go on? How about Gov. Cuomo of NY, or Gov. Inslee of Washington, or Gov. Pritzker of Illinois, or Gov. Newsome of California who all failed to take action soon enough, leading to these great strongholds of the Democratic Party becoming the most infected areas in the country and amongst the most infected in the world? And no I’m not a Republican, I’m merely an American that is totally fed up with the same political b.s. that both the Democrats and the Republicans have been subjecting us to for decades. Little is OUR problem, not yours, and we will evaluate his handling of the situation at the appropriate time. Good luck to you and your fellow New Yorkers.

  3. Is there a categorization system for businesses to define themselves as essential or is it left to the individual owner to use the essential list as they deem appropriate?

  4. I am wondering if Mazzah Mediterranean Grill would be considered essential if they dont have a drive thru and dont deliver. I dont understand why all these businesses are willing to put their employees at risk, if there has already been talk of financial help.

  5. Well, well, well…anytime Idaho makes the national news it’s not a good thing. Last week’s Idaho Statesman article about Gov. Little Brad refused to engage in social distancing & left businesses to make their own decisions. Many took earlier precautions, but the bars, theatres, The Grove & social gatherings continued. Basically, this coward didn’t want to be bothered with this. He claimed Idaho has wide open spaces, yes, and the state is sparsely populated & where there is a population center, such as Boise a city in valley in the mountains. A separate, secluded microcosm where off the grid living is a real thing, mountain men, militias (WTF?), isolated area. Yes, case numbers are “low”, the tsunami of CoVid19 cases is est to arrive late April, early May. Gov Little’s previous declaration made the rounds of national networks where experts sounded the alarms. Something got 2 him…& he was forced 2 take drastic steps today. He should have started once WA state began exploding with cases. This state is unprepared, very behind in preventative measures, preparations. At least Idaho is consistent in striving to be dead last in everything…wake up Boise & take this seriously b/c ur guns, ur big jumbo bubba trucks, putting your trust in Trump will NOT save you. As a NYer DEM, I am appalled at what this state does/doesn’t do. Turn off FOX News, get out of the chat rooms where Trump basers convene to stir conspiracy, lies & believe what they are told. The very red state without proactive measures to squash the curve will be a very red dead state. This is not political; a virus turned into a pandemic affecting people all over the world. This is not the time 4 blame, hate, disbelief. Coronavirus is for real & this community must look out 4 one another, educate yourself on how to protect yourself, stay at home, your can still go outside. WASH UR HANDS!

    I am watching my beloved NYC be devastated by this virus. And yet New Yorkers are strong & take NYS Governor Cuomo’s advice; he has demonstrated superior leadership in face of this national security emergency. That is what a coordinated team response is headed by a true leader who partners with anyone he can because he truly cares for the residents of NYS. Search Rikers Island & read of the wretched conditions the inmates of this max sec prison r going through. It’s heartbreaking. Read about NOLA…clear evidence that grouping together, Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday, & the cases of Coronavirus popping up there like wildfire. Read about Italy, now Spain & see that the USA is on the same trajectory as Spain…the worst is yet to come. Death toll is rising, medical supplies are being hoarded & hospitals are running out. Trump was informed about virus last year & then again in January as China exploded w/cases. Trump then & there should have taken charge, swift action then…NOT call it a hoax or say that it will just disappear…it took 6 weeks to get a response from WH…a very long drawn out on purpose slow reaction…just like Idaho & Gov Little Bradley. Both have put American lives on the line; Trump things America will be open 4 business by Easter? Don’t listen 2 him & he has no power 2 force that. Kudos to Boise businesses who too matters into their own hands & started taking action. Our fellow Boise neighbors…not Little, not Sens Risch & Crapo or Mike Simpson. Let’s fight 4 rights.

  6. Residential and commercial cleaning? I can not find if its essential or not!

  7. Governor Little is doing an absolutely incredible job in the very difficult position that he is in. He has Idaho positioned to be extremely proactive in dealing with this virus! THANK YOU GOVERNOR FOR MAKING THE TOUGH DECISIONS!

  8. Does this include Pet grooming?

  9. Loretta Driskell

    Mark,Bechthold: you are not only WRONG, you are a selfish (among other things) individual, only interested in one thing! Greed and money! I wish I knew what business was, so I could make sure I NEVER did any business with you! Attitudes like yours is one of the many reasons this horrible virus is taking hold!

  10. @Teresa Ryan Section 3 of the essential services document shows landscapers as essential.

  11. skyler henderson

    does this mean drywall companies are to stay home as well?

  12. Is landscaping considered essential?

  13. Dr. D. Patterson,

    Your points about surge and preparations are well taken.

    But, have we as a country and a society prepared for the surge in bankruptcies that will saturate our financial system? How about the surge in unemployment that will saturate our federal and state safety nets? What about the inevitable surge in suicides that historically follow a significant economic downturn?

    As a good citizen I will do my part. I just hope those in the know are looking at all the consequences of their decisions and were we, the good citizens, will really pay the costs.

  14. Is residential construction considered “essential” as far as the stay at home order is concerned?

  15. Twice in two days I’ve had to search and wait for a Governor to publish the list of essential/critical workers that will tell me how this affects my business….putting out the order is fine but let’s have the details available immediately!

  16. @Mark Bechthold Wow! What a self centered person. A global pandemic that’s on the brink of killing millions and you are more important than everyone else? Yes, Governors most certainly DO have that emergency power, they also have law enforcement and the National Guard to back up that power. You must have not taken, or slept through your Government and US History classes. That power has been implemented during declared emergencies many times at both the local and federal levels throughout our Nation’s history. And I’m pretty certain that the Governor is not going to miss your vote. Why don’t you post your business name for everybody?

  17. Dr. D. Patterson

    Mark, this is not ‘panicking’ it is preparation. We only have one shot at flattening the curve and avoiding a surge situation in our EDs and hospitals like we’ve seen in Italy.
    You may not personally be high risk for complications of COVID. But consider that these facilities, once saturated, won’t be able to handle any of the other routine emergencies that roll in every day.
    I am personally engaged in surge preparedness right now as are all of my colleagues. Please be a good citizen and do your part to help.
    Dr. Deric Patterson, MD MSPH HMDC

  18. I am not destroying my business because you are panicking. The Governor does not have the power to “Order” any one to stay at home.

    I’ll be danged if I support this guy for office again. I don’t care if a democrat wins.

    This is outrageous