Gov. Brad Little revealed his four-stage plan for reopening Idaho’s economy last week, but the South Central Public Health District says it doesn’t have all the answers on what that plan will require from each health district.
The health district will receive reopening plans from food establishments and daycares, but those plans will not need to be approved before the businesses can open, according to district Public Information Officer Brianna Bodily.
“Because this plan is brand new, we are still working on guidance for those plans,” she said. “I understand that restaurants need only to submit reopening plans for approval before they can open their dining rooms. They will not need to wait for the plan approval from the South Central Public Health District. This means our inspectors will not be conducting in-person inspections as part of the reopening process.”
She said that as the governor releases more information for the second stage of the reopening process, the Health District will have a better sense of what is expected of it.
While Bodily said she does not believe there are currently requirements for other types of businesses, the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce has reached out to the district to help develop guidelines for business owners to open up safely.
Bodily said she did not know of any other business organizations, including in Blaine County, that had reached out to the Health District for guidance in safely opening up businesses, but said the district is happy to work with any other chambers or businesses.
“Our role will be to advise and recommend best practices,” she said. “Essentially, we will continue to fulfill the role we’ve been filling throughout this pandemic.”
Bodily said the Health District doesn’t have any enforcement capabilities, but continues “to urge residents to take this virus seriously.”
Bodily recommended that anyone who wants to report businesses or locals that aren’t following the new rules contact local governing bodies. In addition, it will be up to individuals to decide whether they feel safe and how to respond.
“If they want to go shopping but the grocery store isn’t practicing safe distancing standards? Go somewhere else,” Bodily said. “Or let management know you aren’t comfortable and see if there is anything they can change. Your health is critical and it’s important you advocate for it.”