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McLean orders dine-in portion of Boise bars & restaurants to close; owners ask Little for relief

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COVID-19 Idaho

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said during a news conference Thursday that she would order the shutdown of bars and restaurants – but still allow takeout and delivery.

The order only impacts establishments inside Boise’s city limits.

“In the interest of public health, effective at midnight tonight, we will be closing dine-in bars and restaurants,” McLean said. “I do not take this disruption lightly. I recognize it disrupts our lives, our livelihoods.”

“Drive-in, drive-up or takeout service,” will still be allowed, McLean emphasized.

Said the city needs to be “agile” – and decisions could change.

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“It’s so important that we take the right action at the right time as this spreads,” she said.

McLean said the city will parking close meters in front of each downtown Boise restaurant so that customers can pull up and make pick-ups easily.

“All of us in many sectors will be experiencing economic difficulty,” McLean said. “We have assured employees that we will advocate fiercely for unemployment benefits, and we will have to develop a plan regionally for how we will recover from this.”

You can watch the full news conference here.

[Need takeout? Here’s a look at restaurants that are open for pickup or delivery]

Restaurant and bar owners ask Gov. Little for action

A coalition of nearly 100 restaurant owners statewide sent a letter to Gov. Brad Little asking for a number of state actions for the hospitality industry.

“As we enter this storm together, we ask to work with you to solve 2 major concerns related to this policy,” the letter said. “Few workers in Idaho are as large a population and as vulnerable as those in the hospitality industry. Our people, our hard-working staff of culinary and hospitality professionals, are what create real value in our businesses and they deserve our loyalty and support, especially in the most unprecedented crisis many of us have experienced in our lives.  Along with a plan to help support our workforce, we need a plan for how we restart our businesses when this storm is over. “

The requests include requiring “all nonessential social gathering places to cease operations immediately.” It also asks Little to increase emergency unemployment benefits, provide an extension on payroll tax filings and a deferral of sales tax for 90 days. You can read the full letter here.

A spokesperson or Gov. Little could not immediately confirm if his office had received the letter yet.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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