Hailey Main Street

Main Street in Hailey was quiet on Saturday, March 21, after an Isolation Order was issued for Blaine County.

The Hailey City Council ratified Mayor Martha Burke’s declaration of emergency on Monday evening in response to the mounting number of COVID-19 cases in Blaine County. 

Under Hailey’s declaration of a public health emergency—signed by Burke on Friday—the city will be able to access all applicable federal, state and county emergency resources. 

“Our community is facing unprecedented times,” Burke wrote in an open letter to Hailey business owners and managers on Monday. “We have dealt with fire and flood, but this COVID-19 health pandemic offers challenges far beyond any we have experienced.” 

Burke is urging business owners and managers to do the following, as per the Blaine County Isolation Order: 

  • If a business element is not essential, shut it down.
  • If it is only mildly essential, consider shutting it down.
  • If it is necessary for public health, safety, sanitization or communication, tailor your business practice to fully protect your employees and the public.
  • If your employees or subcontractors are traveling in to and out of Blaine County, consider suspending activities that require such travel. 

The isolation order, which prohibits non-essential travel to and from Blaine County, can be viewed here: https://www.co.blaine.id.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=161 

“Each of us knows someone who may not know about this order and the implications to public health and preservation of life we are now facing. Think about who you know in that category, and forward this…or, better yet, call them up and let them know how important this matter is,” Burke wrote. “COVID-19 disease has now spread to Ada County and Cassia County from areas with community spread. That must stop immediately.”

At Monday evening’s City Council meeting, conducted by web conference, Hailey Fire Chief Mike Baledge reported that two Blaine County residents with coronavirus have been hospitalized in Twin Falls. 

Councilman Sam Linnet followed Baledge’s comment with a dire warning. 

“I don’t think anyone in the state has done enough to get ahead of this virus at this time,” he said. “Testing is still a week out with the turnaround period—they’re saying 35 [cases] today, but that’s a week to 10 days behind where we actually are. We need to take serious measures, now.” 

A special City Council meeting is now set for Tuesday, March 24 at 4 p.m., during which Mayor Burke and council members will consider an emergency powers ordinance. 

The new legislation could result in a quarantine order or mandated business closures, a city staff report noted. To join the meeting remotely from computer, tablet or smartphone, visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/533145157. Another option is calling 1-872-240-3212 and entering access code 533-145-157.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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