Did Hailey Police Chief Threaten to Arrest Business Owner for Gatherings?By Greg Pruett • November 17, 2020
Update: Our initial report contained the last name of the Sheriff in two sentences when it should have been the name of the Hailey Police Chief which we had in the other paragraphs. Sheriff Steve Harkins is not part of this story but Police Chief Steve England is.
As reported cases of Coronaviruses are on the rise across the state of Idaho, will cities or counties with social distancing and face mask ordinances in place be enforced?
Idaho Dispatch compiled a list of cities and counties that are under a “mask mandate” and which ones have decided against doing one here. If you notice a city or county missing be sure to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
On that list of places with a mask mandate is the city of Hailey located in Blaine County.
Now, a business owner in Hailey says Hailey Police Chief Steve England threatened to arrest her if she continues to hold events at her facility.
Idaho Dispatch spoke with Mitzi Mecham, owner of the Encore Room about what she says was a very frustrating phone call with England.
England allegedly told Mecham that several “concerned citizens” had called and complained about Mecham holding events in her facility. No identification of who complained was ever disclosed.
Idaho Dispatch asked Mecham what types of events she holds at her facility and what she told England about her need to stay open even with the social distancing and face mask requirements.
In order to pay the bills, Mecham says lets individuals rent out the Encore Room for parties, business meetings, and other needs.
Mecham told Idaho Dispatch that she has to hold some events in order to pay the bills on the building that she owns. Mecham also said that one of the vendors in another part of the building has already shut down and so her expenditures have gone up.
Idaho Dispatch has reached out for a comment from England about the alleged threat of an arrest.
Here is what England says he told Mecham in an email to Idaho Dispatch he explained the following:
Ms. Mecham’s business is in fact in Hailey, ID, and yes I did contact her via phone yesterday to make her aware of the following:
- I never threatened to arrest her, only that a citation could be issued to her and/or the occupants that rent the facility, since her business does not fall into any exemptions that Governor Little set forth when rolling Idaho back to Stage 2 last Friday.
- I also notified Ms. Mecham that she has never submitted a COVID-19 business plan with the City of Hailey, which is free of cost.
- I was under the impression that Ms. Mecham would be contacting the City to submit her plan today, and she also told me she would shut her business down until further notice, because she can’t comply if people renting her facility have to stay under 10 persons.
I appreciate Ms. Mecham telling you I was professional, because at no time did I threaten her, I merely made her aware that I would prefer if she complied with the City’s and State’s Orders, so as to not potentially receive a citation.
We followed up with Mecham about what Chief England told Idaho Dispatch.
Mecham said she never told England that she was going to shut her place down or submit a plan. Mecham told Idaho Dispatch that under the city’s health order, any plan she submitted would bankrupt her business and she told England she wouldn’t stop holding events.
Mecham said the threat of an arrest came after England told her that they could cite her and shut the business down.
Should Mecham be cited or arrested if she violates the city’s health order? Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Blaine County, Encore Room, Hailey, Mitzi Mecham, Steve England
7 thoughts on “Did Hailey Police Chief Threaten to Arrest Business Owner for Gatherings?”
NO! Let her stay open!
Article 1 – Section 17. UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES PROHIBITED. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue without probable cause shown by affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.
Section 13. GUARANTIES IN CRIMINAL ACTIONS AND DUE PROCESS OF LAW. In all criminal prosecutions, the party accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial; to have the process of the court to compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf, and to appear and defend in person and with counsel. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense; nor be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.
Section 21. RESERVED RIGHTS NOT IMPAIRED. This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny other rights retained by the people.
There cannot be laws made at any level that are in contradiction to the Constitution.
100% stay open. A tyrannical agenda has no basis in our constitution. Any document that tries to take away our freedom is a threat and must be dealt as such. People must stand together. More people die from heart disease daily then The flu and covd. You don’t see the government standing outside McDonald’s or liquor stores telling people they can’t drink or eat unhealthy food.
It is wrong of the government to shut down businesses. People need to make descions for themselves…. they don’t feel comfortable they can stay home.
No. It’s her business, it’s up to her. I wish there were more businesses allowing non masking folks to go on with their lives. This whole thing from the beginning has been smoke and mirrors. More people need to and have the obligation to disobey unlawful mandates.
Absolutely not!!!! Jeeze what kind of world do we live in where you can be cited or arrested for wanting to keep your business open so you can pay your bills. You nazi bastards. Don’t tread on our American freedoms! This is an unconstitutional lock down. Back the fuck off…you are poking a lion that could bite if pushed too far.
I know both Mitzi and Steve–they are both great people. Steve must uphold the law and respond to lawful citizen complaints. Mitzi is trying to run a business, but the law is the law. Please don’t use this forum to try to stir the pot and pit two good people against each other, especially in a small town. Everyone is just trying to do their best.