As of Thursday, Blaine County had the most COVID-19 cases in the state. Amid the spread of the virus and increasingly restrictive guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cities throughout the Wood River Valley continues to reassess and respond accordingly.
Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw declared a local emergency Thursday, identifying an imminent threat to the city and enabling it to obtain federal, state and county resources.
“By making a disaster emergency declaration, we are adding another tool into our disaster toolbox,” Bradshaw said in the press release. “This ordinance is not meant to alarm the community. We are taking all necessary steps to be prepared for future decisions. The most important task at hand right now is to do whatever we can to protect our citizens.”
Until the end of April, all Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission meetings are cancelled and all City Council agenda items requiring a public hearing will also be removed from meetings through April.
At a special City Council meeting on March 23 at 4 p.m., Bradshaw will present the emergency ordinance to establish emergency powers for the mayor and council, which include issuing orders for social distancing, isolation and quarantine. The council must approve the ordinance. Without it, the city has no authority to use its emergency powers. The declaration would be in effect for seven days and may be extended.
The city of Carey has closed its city hall to the public until April 6 in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“If needed we will extend that date,” a Facebook post from the city’s website on March 17 states.
City staff will be available via email and phone and appointments may be made for any necessary in person meetings.
Tuesday, Sun Valley Mayor Peter Hendricks announced that the city is at Level 1 in its operation plan for COVID-19.
That mandates normal operating conditions for city staff, forming an Emergency Operations Committee to monitor disease activity, sharing information on personal prevention with employees and the community, daily cleaning at City Hall and workstations, preparation in each department for an escalation in disease activity, considerations in canceling future outside training and travel, identification of emergency operations and development of an emergency response.
“The purpose of this operations plan is to ensure that we keep our employees safe from COVID-19 and to keep our city operational for the citizens we serve,” the city said in a statement.
In additional, city officials have continued communication with the Blaine County Emergency Coordinating Committee—an entity established to share and collaborate on information regarding COVID-19 throughout the county.
“One of the tasks of government is to efficiently and effectively operate in times of stress and concern,” Hendricks said. “The City of Sun Valley is committed to do just that by taking measures we believe are prudent and workable and, in the end, effective. As conditions change, we will be responsive in our mitigation efforts to contain and overcome the problem.”
As of press deadline Thursday, Sun Valley City Hall remained open.
Bellevue continues to maintain reduced capacity at City Hall as community members begin to adapt to a new normal.
According to Mayor Ned Burns, the Silver Dollar Saloon has closed its doors, South Valley Pizzeria and Mahoney’s Bar & Grill have gone take-out only and 7Fuego has enacted limited hours of operation.
“Blaine County has [the] most cases in the state, we believe we are seeing community spread, and to break infection cycle[s] we cannot recommend strongly enough to stay home, do not gather, do not believe you won’t get this,” Burns told the Idaho Mountain Express on Thursday.
Hailey city offices were closed to the public as of Monday. Employees in some departments continue to work and can be reached by phone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments may also be scheduled if business cannot be conducted over the phone or via email. In addition, employees continue to work staggered shifts to increase social distancing.
Emergency response services and garbage pickup will continue uninterrupted in the city.