Blaine County and its cities are considering adding their own amendments to Idaho’s statewide self-isolation order, local leaders announced Wednesday.
The county and the cities of Hailey, Sun Valley, Bellevue and Ketchum will decide separately whether to adopt tighter restrictions on top of the statewide order, which went into effect this week.
Those amendments could include a restriction on nonessential travel out of Blaine County, a requirement that out-of-state visitors self-isolate for 14 days and a ban on hotel stays for non-Blaine residents, with the exception of health care workers or people who are here to perform essential government functions.
As of press time Thursday afternoon, no additional restrictions were in place beyond the statewide order, but several towns planned to vote on the amendments by Friday or sooner. The Hailey City Council planned to reconvene late Thursday afternoon after meeting earlier in the day, and both Bellevue and Ketchum had special city council meetings scheduled for Friday at noon. The city of Sun Valley planned to make a decision on Thursday, April 2.
In the meantime, the Blaine Coun-ty commission “strongly urges” peo-
ple not to travel outside of Blaine County for recreation, hotel stays, shopping and other nonessential activities, the commissioners said in a statement Thursday.
Outdoor recreation—with proper 6-foot social distancing—is allowed under the statewide order. But “if residents want to get outside for exercise, they should do it in Blaine County, not in other counties,” the commissioners said in the statement.
Other “essential activities” allowed by the order, such as grocery shopping, should also be done within Blaine County if possible, the commissioners said.
The statewide order, which went into effect Wednesday, closely resembles the “shelter in place” order that the state issued for Blaine County a week ago. Now that Idaho has issued a statewide order, the county’s is no longer in place.
Local officials started discussing the possibility of adding additional restrictions earlier this week after getting calls from commissioners in neighboring counties who were concerned about the number of Blaine residents “partying” at their lakes or shopping at their grocery stores, Blaine County Commission Chairman Jacob Greenberg told the Idaho Mountain Express.
“People should take heed that we are serious about this,” Greenberg said. “If you can get stuff in the valley, get it in the valley.”
Blaine County leaders had also received complaints from residents worried about people flying in from Washington, California and other heavily impacted areas, Greenberg said.
Here’s a full list of the possible new restrictions, as outlined in a press release Wednesday night:
- Construction of housing and commercial projects must stop.
- Plumbers, electricians and other trades can only perform work that is “immediate and essential.”
- Landscaping and “other residential service” must stop.
- Hotels and short-term rentals can’t offer lodging to people from outside the county unless they’re health-care workers or here to perform “essential government functions.”
- Blaine County residents returning home from out of state must self-isolate at home for 14 days upon their return. Visitors entering the county from out of state must also self-isolate for 14 days.
- Travel outside of Blaine County to obtain items available in the county is prohibited.
- No gatherings of nonrelated individuals inside homes.
- Violations of the current statewide isolation order are punishable as a misdemeanor. Blaine County law enforcement agencies said Monday that they plan to enforce the order through education, warnings or dispersal of gatherings when possible, though officers do have the option to enforce with a misdemeanor charge in the case of a “blatant violation.”
The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that its deputies will continue to use lesser sanctions when they can. The Sheriff’s Office said it would assess the new restrictions and would notify the public if there are any changes or new measures.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 81 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Blaine County, according to the South Central Public Health District. Those cases included two deaths: a Blaine County man over age 60 and a Blaine County man over 80, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Thursday.