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Little: Idaho to reopen in phases: What it means for businesses & customers

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COVID-19 Idaho

Idaho Governor Brad Little called for a phased approach to reopening the state after his current stay at home order expires on May 1.

The move generally follows federal guidelines for reopening. Little called it an “Idaho specific” plan.

“I know this is hard on everyone. I’ve talked to many business owners and workers who shared their stories of challenges, frustration and downright anger,” Little said. “We have entered a new chapter – a very welcome chapter – of fighting this disease.”

The four-phase plan starts to reopen the state, but Little stresses Idahoans should wear protective face coverings, remain six feet apart from others, and continue to wash their hands.

“We will not progress through the stages of reopening if people do not take personal measures to limit their exposure to coronavirus. That means stay home as much as you can.”

‘Measured approach’

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Little called this a measured approach to reopening.

“Opening Idaho at the right pace is critical,” he said. “The plan we are laying out will give consumers, employers, and employees a concrete path back to prosperity. I am eager for Idaho to rebound from this pandemic, and appreciate your help and patience in getting us there.”

A new site lays out information on what Little calls the “rebound.”

The governor said even after the four phases, it will be a “new normal,” and getting back to the pre-COVID period will likely take a vaccine. That could be 18 months away or more.

He also said the state would continue to take a light touch on enforcement, and asks people and businesses to follow the guidelines and do the right thing.

Stage 1

This phase will start May 1 at the end of the current stay at home order.

  • Businesses should maintain six feet distance for employees and customers. Any businesses that open should have sanitation protocols in place.
  • Most retail businesses could reopen, except:
    • Bars & nightclubs
    • Restaurant dining rooms
    • Indoor gyms
    • Hair salons
    • Large venues like movie theaters and sports theaters.
  • Houses of worship can reopen.
  • Daycares can also reopen.
  • Employers should continue telework where possible.
  • Visits to senior living facilities and facilities like jails are prohibited.
  • Minimize travel.
  • Out-of-state visitors should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Vulnerable Idahoans should avoid interacting with the public.

More details on this stage.

Stage 2

This phase would start May 16th, as long as the state does not see a significant increase in new cases.

  • Businesses should maintain six feet distance for employees and customers. Any businesses that open should have sanitation protocols in place.
  • Additional businesses can open in this phase:
    • Restaurant dining rooms, with a plan approved by the local health district
    • Indoor gyms, with a social distancing plan
    • Hair salons can open with “ability to meet business protocols”
  • Still closed:
    • Bars & nightclubs
    • Large venues like movie theaters and sports theaters.
  • Employers should continue telework where possible.
  • Minimize travel.
  • Out-of-state visitors should self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Gatherings of less than ten people can be held with a plan for social distancing.

More details on stage 2.

Stage 3

This phase would start May 30th, as long as the state does not see a significant increase in new cases.

  • The most significant change in this stage is the resumption of travel. The 14-day self-quarantine restriction is also lifted.
  • Employers should continue telework where possible.
  • Gatherings of less than 50 people can be held with a plan for social distancing.

Stage 4

This stage would start June 13th, as long as the state does not see a significant increase in new cases.

  • All remaining venues and businesses can open with social distancing plans.
  • Work can resume in workplaces.
  • Vulnerable Idahoans can resume public interactions.

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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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