During a news conference Wednesday, Brad Little extended the Stay at Home Order through April 30th.
Little’s original 21-day Stay at Home order expires tonight at midnight.
“I want to thank Idaho’s citizens for their profound efforts to slow the spread of Coronavirus in Idaho,” Little said. “We’ll continue to fight coronavirus together.
He amended the order to reopen some facilities to reopen with curbside delivery services through the 30th.
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Little said if there are an uptick in cases, the order could be further extended.
“Here’s what it comes down to. Idaho will be better positioned for a strong economic comeback because we are making changes to how we live and work now,” he said. If we don’t make the right choices, we can weaken the economy months and weeks down the road.”
He said businesses can begin to prepare to reopen after April 30th, if they come up with plans for social distancing, sanitization and other measures like limiting the number of people in their places of business.
Businesses that could provide services where people don’t go inside – either through curbside pickup or drop off could reopen before April 30 to provide those services. Little said this is similar to restaurants which are closed for dine-in, but can provide on-the-go services. The governor said they don’t have a list of which businesses may qualify to open with carryout service between now and April 30.
Little answered a question from BoiseDev on the burden faced by businesses. He said he hopes the state and federal government can respond and help aid business owners impacted. But he said he “has to do what he has to do to protect the people of Idaho.”
More detailed information on the amended executive order is expected soon.
It also asks out of state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days, unless they are here to provide essential services.
‘Loosening and tightening’
Little noted the state has community spread “in nearly every corner of the state.” He said mitigation efforts of some sort will continue until adequate testing and a vaccine are in place.
He said phases of “loosening and tightening” of restrictions could continue throughout the pandemic.
He said the efforts are working, and he can “only imagine” how many deaths the state would have seen without the Stay at Home Order.
To date, 39 people have died from COVID-19 in Idaho. Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare confirmed cases in 35 of Idaho’s 44 counties, with Ada and Blaine counties the hardest hit. Newly confirmed cases have leveled off to some degree, but just yesterday, the state listed 39 new probable or confirmed cases.
A widely-cited model from the University of Washington shows Idaho already passed peak hospital resource usage on April 8th. The model assumes the state keeps in place stay at home and social distancing orders.
Yesterday, Little visited the state’s staging area for personal protective equipment, and found that the state had enough supply to last about two weeks.
Little saw pressure in the days ahead of the announcements on both the sides of keeping things closed down, and opening them up. Little’s challenger in the last primary, personal injury attorney Raul Labrador sent a letter in his role as chair of the state’s Republican party. He urged Little to “reopen Idaho,” saying Little should weigh the economic impact of the decision and “not just COVID-19 models.” Republican leaders in the legislature encouraged Little to turn over decision making on closures to the state’s health districts.
During a Boise City Council meeting Tuesday before the decision, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean indicated that if Little eased off restrictions statewide, the city could reinstate measures like restaurant dining room closures and social distancing guidelines. The state’s public health district that covers Boise announced yesterday a resident at a skilled-care facility died after contracting COVID-19. McLean said she found out about the death from the media, and not officials with Central District Health.