Governor Brad Little held a press conference earlier today regarding the status of the COVID-19 vaccine in Idaho and our current death count and case count.
Idaho has been in a “Modified Stage 2” for a few months now. Today, Little announced that he was moving Idaho from Stage 2 to Stage 3. This as the legislature continues to debate and discuss potential actions against either the Emergency and/or Health Order.
Little said in a statement released on video that gatherings would go from a 10 person limitation to a 50 person limitation. Religious and political exemptions to the 50-person limitation would not apply.
However, in reading the differences between the Stage 2 order from December 30th, 2020, and today’s Stage 3 order, it appears that many of the “must” and “shall” requirements are dropped from the order’s language.
In the Stage 2 order, for instance, the order stated on “Gatherings”:
Gatherings of more than 10 people, both public and private, are prohibited. (Emphasis Added)
On the Stage 3 order released today, here is what it says on gatherings:
Gatherings should be limited to 50 or fewer people and adhere to the Physical Distancing and Sanitation Requirements in Section 3. (Emphasis Added)
Another change appears to be in the bars, nightclubs, and restaurants portion of the orders.
Little in his address today said that those facilities will be limited to “sitting” only. Here is the difference between the two orders.
The wording in the Stage 2 order was as follows:
All patrons must remain seated while consuming food or drink or when otherwise remaining on the premises, except for when entering, exiting, or using the restroom; (Emphasis Added)
Now, here is the wording for the Stage 3 order for seating in bars, nightclubs, and restaurants which fall under the title, “Stay Healthy Recommendations”:
All patrons should remain seated while consuming food or drink or when otherwise remaining on the premises, except for when entering, exiting, or using the restroom. (Emphasis Added)
Again, the wording changed to “should” instead of “must” or “prohibited” which would typically indicate a more strict mandate.
The six feet between seating in restaurants was also changed from “must” to “should” in the new Stage 3 order.
Idaho Dispatch reached out to the Little’s office to find out if these changes were intentional and if the intent was to drop most of the restrictions and go to recommendations instead. We have not received an answer at this time but will update the article if Little’s office responds.
Little did say during his announcement that he didn’t want Idahoans to let their guard down. He said in his statement:
This is not a signal to let up on our good efforts. We must stay vigilant.
Little closed his statement by asking citizens to continue wearing masks, social distancing, stay home if they are sick, and get vaccinated.
What do you think of Idaho moving into Stage 3?
Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Brad Little, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Face Covergings, Social Distancing, Stage 3