Gov. Brad Little on Thursday unveiled a four-stage plan for reopening Idaho’s economy in the coming months, with the first stage beginning May 1.

Little announced the plan in a press conference Thursday morning. The full plan is available at rebound.idaho.gov.

“Our efforts to slow the spread [of COVID-19] have worked so well that we have entered a new chapter, a very welcome chapter, in the story of our fight of this deadly disease,” Little told reporters.

The timeline laid out by the state is contingent on Idaho’s seeing a continued downward trend in, or low levels of, documented COVID-19 cases, Little said. The plan states that the phases are contingent on testing capabilities and adequate health-care system capacity.

Here’s what the plan looks like:

Stage One (May 1-15)

  • Places of worship can open “if they adhere to strict physical distancing, sanitation protocol, and any CDC guidance.”
  • Daycares, organized youth activities and camps can reopen.
  • Hair salons, indoor gyms and recreation facilities, and restaurant dining rooms must remain closed, but these businesses can start developing plans for reopening.
  • Movie theaters, sports venues and bars and nightclubs must remain closed.
  • Visits to senior living facilities and jails and prisons are prohibited.
  • All gatherings should be avoided.
  • While retail shops are not explicitly mentioned in the governor’s proposed plan, Little told reporters in the press conference that he expects most retail stores to be able to reopen in the first stage.

Stage Two (May 16-29)

  • Restaurant dining rooms can open once their plans have been submitted for approval by local public health districts.
  • Hair salons and indoor gyms and recreation facilities can open if they meet certain business protocols.
  • Movie theaters, sports venues and bars and nightclubs must remain closed.
  • Visits to senior living facilities and jails and prisons are prohibited.
  • Gatherings of fewer than 10 people are permitted.

Stage Three (May 30 to June 12)

  • Bars and nightclubs must remain closed, but can start developing plans for operating with diminished standing room occupancy.
  • Movie theaters and sports venues must remain closed, but can start developing plans for operating with limited physical distancing protocols.
  • Visits to senior living facilities and jails and prisons are prohibited.
  • Gatherings of 50 or fewer people are permitted with “appropriate physical distancing and cautionary measures.”

Stage Four (June 13-26)

  • Bars and nightclubs can operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, “where applicable and appropriate.”
  • Movie theaters and sports venues can operate under limited physical distancing protocols.
  • Visits to senior living facilities and jails and prisons can resume.
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people are permitted with “appropriate physical distancing and cautionary measures.”

At all stages, people should stay at least 6 feet apart, wear face coverings in public, stay home if sick, wash their hands, cover coughs and sneeze and disinfect surfaces and objects regularly, according to the state website.

Employers at all stages should:

  • Maintain the 6-foot distancing requirement for employees and patrons.
  • Provide “adequate sanitation and personal hygiene” for employees and patrons.
  • Frequently disinfect and regularly clean the business.
  • Identify how masks and gloves can be required of employees and/or patrons.
  • Limit close interactions with customers.
  • Restrict nonessential business travel.
  • Ensure that employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently infectious stay home from work, try to keep employees who have been exposed to a COVID-positive worker away from the workplace and close the business to disinfect the workplace if an employee tests positive.

In the first three stages of the plan, employees who are considered vulnerable should self-quarantine, with special accommodations made in the workplace if they are unable to work from home. In the fourth stage, employers should make special accommodations for employees who are considered vulnerable.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

Load comments