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Boise looks to follow state reopening guidelines, with a few changes; Fall events could see an impact

The City of Boise presented its plans for a phased reopening of the city Tuesday night.

For the most part, it echoes the State of Idaho’s plan with a couple key differences: It won’t include target dates, and the maximum group size allowed in phase four will see a limit.

“We are going to reccomend there be no group gatherings above a certain size,” Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said. “Anything that does take place should adhere to social distancing guidelines.”

The city’s fourth phase would limit public gatherings to no more than 250 people at any one time. The state’s current guidance provides no limit.

Boise didn’t outline when it could lift the 250 person limit. But McLean indicated fall events could see an impact.

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“You read what everyone’s looking at, and (they are) evaluating if large group gatherings, such as football, will happen in the fall.”

A number of events scheduled for the spring, like Treefort Music Festival, moved to the fall. Many additional events, from Bronco Football to high school sporting events to galas and more could see an impact.

No target dates

The Boise guidance will follow the same 14-day evaluation period as the state, but no target dates are provided. The state listed the phases in two week intervals, and the governor said he hoped to see most things back open by the end of June.

“It’s our hope and my intention that we progress in the same way,” McLean said. “We want to make sure that what works for Boise works for (other parts of the state), but that may not always be the case.”

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The city said it would also follow guidelines for each phase, what it called “gating criteria.” To move on to the next phase, data points like hospital utilization, the number of new cases and other information to make its decisions. Like the state, the city could move backwards through the phases if there are an uptick in cases or other data.

Boise staff will also work out a plan for when city services will open. They will also follow the phased guidance, with a slow process of opening a few things in each stage.

“I am very concerned about the likelihood of people arriving en masses at playgrounds and other facilities when we (open them),” McLean said. “We are going to be very thoughtful about what opens and when. All city facilities won’t open on May 1st. Otherwise we will see spikes and that doesn’t help reopen the economy.”

Gov. Brad Little set a news conference for Thursday at 11am to talk about what the state will do next and if phase one will start as anticipated on May 1, this Friday.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at don@boisedev.com.

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