A number of Idaho’s counties and cities have relaxed their COVID-19 restrictions that were in place last year.
However, Idaho Dispatch previously covered that some businesses and elected officials were confused about what restrictions were still in place in the Southwest District Health (SWDH). SWDH covers a number of counties in Idaho, including Canyon County.
Now, one SWDH board member is proposing a resolution that would move SWDH out of the decision-making process for public events where more than 50 people are in attendance.
Adams County Commissioner Vicki Purdy is proposing the resolution and has been an outspoken critic of government requirements for masks and restrictions on businesses imposed by Governor Brad Little or district health boards.
Purdy previously voiced frustration over SWDH’s involvement in whether or not events could hold more than 50 people. Purdy told Idaho Dispatch that she is concerned some events may never come back if they cannot get assurances that they can hold their events this year.
Part of the confusion on whether or not events can be held stems from a previous SWDH meeting in which the board seemed to indicate that they don’t have to approve plans submitted for events larger than 50 people. Some event organizers felt there was an approval process despite SWDH saying that they only looked at the plans and no approval was necessary.
The governor’s website says that if more than 50 people are going to be at an event that they should send a plan to their local health board.
In an email sent to Gem Commissioner and Chairman of the SWDH Board, Bryan Elliot, Viki said the following,
Dear Commissioner Elliott,
I am requesting that consideration of the attached resolution be added to the agenda as an action item for our April 27 meeting or sooner should one be called.
A week ago, I was asked to attend a meeting with several influential businessmen in Nampa. These gentlemen want to be able to freely host their summer events. To do so, they need full venues to make them economically feasible and they would like the support of the board of health. My resolution will address where we, as a board, stand. It is by now clear that this virus is no longer simply about public health, but rather is being weaponized to support a political agenda. Those of us in the agriculture world know that eliminating our western culture, and in particular rodeos, has long been an agenda item for socialists. We cannot allow Idaho’s culture to be canceled ever again.
I do not believe it is fair to Dr. Zogg and her staff to put them in a position where they are expected to do what elected officials should be doing. She was hired by the board but also answers to Mr. Jeppensen at the Department of Health and Welfare. She is in a very precarious position.
Much larger states are completely open and are doing just fine. Idaho’s businesses are still working at 50% capacity or less. I have spoken with several restaurant owners and they would like clear direction. They are suffering and spiraling into ever-increasing debt. Property taxes are unchanged and remain due, even though revenues have been cut in half. The CDC’s guidelines are killing our businesses and are simply unneeded.
While we, as a board, may have not forced recommendations or imposed mandates, the citizens simply aren’t getting that message. While we may not be able to change what the state does, we can show these fine gentlemen that we are willing to give them the much-needed support they are seeking from us.
Standing up for, and protecting the rights of, our citizens is our primary duty. That is why we were elected.
Adams County Commissioner Viki Purdy
The resolution is on the agenda for tomorrow.
What do you think of the resolution that will remove SWDH from the decision-making process for events? Do you think it should pass or fail?
Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Adams County, Canyon County, Covid-19, Gem County, Public Events, Southwest District Health, Viki Purdy