In a Friday afternoon press conference, Gov. Brad Little announced that Idaho will return to a modified Stage Two reopening protocol in response to recent increases in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Idaho was previously in Stage Two from May 16 – May 29.
The most significant change will be the statewide prohibition of gatherings, both public and private, indoors or outdoors, of more than ten people.
The only exceptions are for religious gatherings and political expression.
All Idahoans are encouraged to telework whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs can continue to operate but with limited capacity and seating only.
Masks continue to be mandated in all long-term care facilities. Local jurisdictions are still permitted to impose mask mandates on individuals. Gov. Little noted that more than half the state is already under some sort of mask mandate.
The Governor announced he is “mobilizing the Idaho National Guard to respond to this emergency.”
Major General Michael Garshak, the Adjutant General of Idaho and the Commanding General of the Idaho National Guard, made a short statement at the press conference regarding the involvement of the National Guard.
The Idaho National Guard, part of the Idaho Military Division, is prepared to provide a host of capabilities to include mobile testing support, facility decontamination, or COVID screening in addition to our ongoing planning and logistic support.
A reporter asked the Governor if part of the National Guard’s mission might be to assist with contact tracing. The Governor replied, “it is.”
K-12 schools will not be required to close as part of the return to Stage Two. Gov. Little said, “Our kids need to remain in school for in-person instruction as much as possible.”
Dr. Christine Hahn spoke about increasing the testing of asymptomatic people (people who show no symptoms) and said that members of a statewide task force are working on a strategy to implement a “routine type of surveillance.”
A number of legislators reacted to Governor’s latest executive order.
Rep. Christy Zito (R-Hammett) expressed her concerns.
Governor Little’s announcement today appeared to not be as bad as we thought it might be. That being said, it is a move in the wrong direction. There are more positive COVID tests because there are more tests being conducted. We are a responsible people. We know how to keep ourselves safe, and healthy. Our health care is one of our most personal rights. Autonomy over our own person is the most important freedom we should be protecting. I find it offensive that our tax dollars are being spent to use scare tactics and manipulation to bully citizens into compliance.
Rep. Chad Christensen (R-Iona) was also unhappy with the Governor’s actions.
There was a precedent set by the courts, especially in Pennsylvania. Lockdowns are unconstitutional. Tyrants violate the Constitution without fear of repercussions.
Apparently, Governor Little lacks the proper fear of his constituents. He was not elected by a majority. The majority of Idahoans are in opposition to his ruling with an iron fist.
They are done. I am well past done. I was done in March. I will continue to encourage my district to ignore his dross. We refuse to wallow in the mud with him.
Rep. Nichols (R-Middleton) said this about Little’s announcement:
We all have the same goal in wanting Idaho to be safe, strong, and healthy all the time. If you’re in the vulnerable population, stay safe and take extra precautions. Everyone should do the things necessary that boost their immune system by giving it the things it needs to keep it healthy! In Idaho we know that businesses and people are very capable of making the best decisions for their situations, and that ‘the government that governs least, governs best.’
Rep. John McCrostie (D-Boise) had the following post on Facebook:
What do you think of Idaho being rolled back to a “Modified Stage 2?” Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Brad Little, Coronavirus, Covid-19, General Garshak, Governor Little, Mask Mandate, Masks