Sun Valley construction

Construction can resume in Sun Valley on Monday, a break from other jurisdictions in Blaine County. 

Construction and landscaping can resume on Monday in the city of Sun Valley.

On Sunday evening, Mayor Peter Hendricks announced that he’ll allow the city’s enhanced COVID-19 isolation order to expire at midnight on Sunday, April 12. The lapsing ordinance includes a ban on construction, a ban on traveling out of the county for non-essential services, and a requirement that anybody coming into the county from out of state self-isolate for 14 days. 

With that, Sun Valley breaks from Hailey, Ketchum, and Blaine County, which each opted to extend their more strident local rules—and halt construction—for at least another week. Bellevue will vote on extending its order on Monday, a move Mayor Ned Burns is on the record supporting.

Sun Valley’s city council did not meet to discuss extending its ordinance.

Citing “positive signs” and expressing a “strong faith in our citizens to continue to do the right thing,” Hendricks said the city “will be the canary in the coal mine as far as residential construction is concerned” in an open letter to constituents.

“We need to allow and encourage businesses to operate in a way that protects the health of workers and customers and aids the economic well-being of the commercial enterprise,” Hendricks wrote. “Remember, these are not faceless and long-distance owners. Our businesses are operated and staffed by our friends. Our theater staff, our restaurant owners and servers, our retail clerks, are the same people we’ll see at the fund raisers for our local nonprofits’ celebratory events. And these are the same people who contribute so generously time after time to these gala events. They need our help and support now in this crisis. We need to allow them to recover and be successful.”

Construction will resume under standards “some of us had agreed upon,” Hendricks wrote. Hendricks said that he had watched most of the discussions held by other jurisdictions, and consulted with contractors. He did not specify these standards in his letter.

“I do not believe there is a single person in Blaine County that does not desire a successful and safe re-opening,” Hendricks wrote. “As a last thought, if this method works, perhaps we could look to use it for other re-openings and have other jurisdictions take charge in areas such as gyms, libraries, retail, bars and restaurants.”

The city will work on a new public health order for the city council to consider during a special meeting on April 20. Until then, it is still subject to the Department of Health and Welfare’s less strict statewide “shelter in place” order, which is slated to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15.

As of 5 p.m. on April 12, Blaine County had 454 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus, the same as yesterday, according to the state. The South Central Public Health District, which tracks local cases, does not report updates over the weekend. 

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

Load comments