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Governor announces staged reopening of Idaho businesses

photo of downtown ketchum

Normally bustling downtown Ketchum is empty due to restrictions imposed to stop COVID-19 coronavirus. Photo by Catie Clark

Idaho is ready to begin coming out of the lockdown instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19.

During a press conference on April 23, Gov. Brad Little announced a phased approach to allow different categories of Idaho businesses to open back up in four timed stages.

The stages will take place between May 1 and June 26, according to a schedule published on a new state website, rebound.idaho.gov. A brief summary of the reopening plan can be found at the end of this article.

Some businesses may need to implement new safety measures to maintain the suppression of new COVID-19 cases, Little stressed, since flattening the curve is not the same thing as eradicating the novel coronavirus. The published plan contains all the details on which business can reopen during the different phases and what new public safety measures will be required to prevent a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Little explained that the full reopening of Idaho’s economy is only possible because “Idahoans have collectively done an incredible job to slow the spread of the coronavirus.” Little emphasized that without that effort, and without continuing efforts to maintain hygiene and social distancing, the reopening of business would be impossible.

The Governor explained that the state will be moving on to a new normal and would not return to the way things were before the pandemic.

“We will not be back to normal until we have a vaccine … and I have to be straight with the people of Idaho about that,” he said.

The state claims its approach will reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to the most vulnerable populations and preserves health care capacity while allowing for businesses to open back up in a safe manner.

“From an economic standpoint, Idaho’s rebound from COVID-19 starts with employee and consumer confidence, which leads into business stability and growth and eventually promotion and attraction … The nexus of economic prosperity and public health is undeniable.”

A closer look at Idaho’s four phases for reopening businesses

Phase 1, May 1 to May 15:

  • Visits to senior living facilities and institutions such as jails and corrections are prohibited.
  • Bars, nightclubs and large venues such as movie theaters and sports complexes will remain closed.
  • Restaurants, gyms, recreation facilities and hair salons will remain closed but should develop plans to reopening and to meet safety protocols to reopen in stage 2.
  • Places of worship can open if they adhere to strict physical distancing, sanitation protocol and any CDC guidance.
  • Daycares and organized youth activities and camps can reopen.
  • At reopened businesses, employees and customers should maintain six feet of distance. Businesses should also have sanitation protocols in place.
  • Minimize travel.
  • Out-of-state visitors should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Vulnerable Idahoans should avoid interacting with the public.

Phase 2, May 16 to May 29:

  • Visits to senior living facilities and institutions such as jails and corrections are prohibited.
  • Bars, nightclubs and large venues such as movie theaters and sports complexes will remain closed.
  • Restaurant dining rooms can open once their plans have been submitted for approval by local public health districts.
  • Indoor gyms, recreation facilities and hair salons can open if they meet the ability to maintain business safety protocols
  • At reopened businesses, employees and customers should maintain six feet of distance. Businesses should also have sanitation protocols in place.
  • Minimize travel.
  • Out-of-state visitors should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Gatherings of fewer than 10 people can be held with a plan for social distancing.

Phase 3, May 30 to June 12

  • Visits to senior living facilities and institutions such jails and corrections are prohibited.
  • Bars and nightclubs will remain closed but should develop plans for operating with diminished standing room occupancy to open during stage 4.
  • Large venues such as movie theaters and sporting venues will remain closed but should develop plans for operating with limited physical distancing protocols to open during stage 4.
  • Travel no longer needs to be minimized.
  • New visitor self-quarantine no longer in effect.
  • Gatherings of fewer than 50 people can be held with a plan for social distancing.

Phase 4, June 13 to June 26

  • Visits to senior living facilities and institutions such as jails and corrections can resume. Those who interact with residents and patients must maintain diligent hygiene and physical distancing protocols.
  • Bars and nightclubs may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy where applicable and appropriate.
  • Large venues such as movie theaters and sporting venues can operate under limited physical distancing protocols.
  • All other venues and businesses can open with social distancing plans.

About Catie Clark

7 comments

  1. Closing rest rooms for shoppers. REALLY!

  2. Businesses closing fitting rooms and restrooms. They said disinfect plan not close the rest room so you don’t have to clean it. How hard is it to spray disinfectant on toilets and wash the sinks. It’s not like they get Walmart customer counts.

  3. Kimberlee Seeger

    My salon is in a senior health care facility. Am I able to open the salon on May 15th phase two or do I have to wait until the facilities are fully open in phase four?

  4. As Thoreau said: Any fool can make a rule and any fool will mind it.

    Dental offices, optometrists, and the like should never have closed. These doctors have more brains in their little finger than any of our temporary employees (also called politicians) have in their whole body. These doctors are far better equipped to keep themselves, staff, and patients safe than big brother ever could.

    Sometimes civil disobedience is our duty. I hope they will open today and start serving the needs of their patients. No jury of their peers or patients would ever convict them over this non-sense.

  5. Where do Elective Dental procedures fit in the STAGES 1,2,3,4 ????????????????

  6. eric@oliverfinley.com

    Think about the workers that can’t afford their meds, suicide, depression, job loss, mental health. More damage may be done with the shut down versus the damage the virus is doing. How can the government allow cancer causing chemicals in cigarettes knowing the data? Then turn around lecture us on health and safety?

  7. Orbre schoonover

    What about elective surgery and dental offices