Blaine County and its cities jointly announced plans to implement new, stringent measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 Wednesday night, including a ban on residential and commercial construction.
During special Hailey City Council meetings this week residents in the construction and landscaping industries—several providing emotional testimony—worried that the new order would drastically alter their lives.
“This proposed action will leave me in a jam,” said Greg Bloomfield. “I am under contract to buy a Sweetwater duplex that is a week from being finished. If you shut this project down, I will be homeless.”
Sweetwater Community Project Manager Cameron Spencer said he was in favor of reducing early-stage construction, but late-stage projects should be finished.
“We’ve got houses that are nearly complete and families that have deadlines to move in, and this is directly going to affect that,” he said.
Beau Burks of Burks Excavation said he’d like to see the construction industry keep rolling.
“I can’t imagine the loss of revenue,” he said. “It would be devastating for us.”
Burks added that his employees have been vigilant about maintaining space.
“Only one person is allowed in a vehicle at a time. We made up some spray bottles of disinfectant that we spray on our door handles,” he said. “We can do this in a safe manner.”
Idaho Department of Building Safety Inspector Tom Abbott said he could help enforce social distancing and protective-gear regulations on job sites.
“I can observe workers and make sure they are following prescribed protocol,” he said. “If there are any problems, I can report it.”
Once approved by local jurisdictions during special meetings this week, the enhanced measures will last until 11:59 p.m. on April 12. The ordinance stalls construction and landscaping. Plumbers, electricians, and other tradesman can only conduct work deemed “immediate and essential.”