Ketchum construction

Construction projects on First Avenue in Ketchum sat dormant on Friday, March 27. 

Officials in Blaine County, Ketchum, Hailey, and Bellevue have all voted to adopt new restrictions on travel and construction in light of COVID-19.

The new restrictions will function as local amendments to the statewide self-isolation order issued Wednesday.

The Hailey City Council approved the restrictions on Thursday, with Blaine County, Ketchum, and Bellevue following suit the next day. The city of Sun Valley will decide April 2 whether to do the same.

The new restrictions will go into effect in Hailey, Ketchum and Bellevue on Monday, March 30. Despite indication that Blaine County would delay enforcing its ordinance until April 1, it went into effect upon signing Friday, Commissioner Jacob Greenberg confirmed with the Idaho Mountain Express on Saturday afternoon.

They will remain in effect at least through April 12.

The new measures include:

• Non-essential travel outside of Blaine County, or travel outside the county to obtain items available in the county, is prohibited.

• Blaine County residents returning home from out of state must self-isolate at home for 14 days upon their return.

• Visitors entering the county from out of state must also self-isolate for 14 days.

• Construction of housing and commercial projects must stop.

• Plumbers, electricians and other trades can only perform work that is “immediate and essential.”

• Landscaping and other “routine maintenance and repair” for residences and businesses must stop.

• Hotels and short-term rentals can’t offer lodging to people from outside the county unless they are self-isolating, health-care workers, or performing “essential government functions.”

The Blaine County commissioners voted 2-1 in a special meeting Friday to adopt the new restrictions.

“We need to take this step,” Commissioner Dick Fosbury said, according to a statement. “This is invisible. It’s not a flood where you can see the river rising. It’s not a fire where you can see the spread.”

Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who cast the “no” vote, said she worried about the unintended consequences of the new measures.

“The economic impacts also affect health and mental health,” McCleary said.

After signing the ordinance, the commissioners received confirmation from their attorney that enacting the measures in March would not affect impacted workers under the new paid leave rules outlined by federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed this week, Greenberg said.

In Bellevue, the city council unanimously approved the emergency order Friday, with Councilman Shaun Mahoney describing the new measures as a “no-brainer.”

“Blaine County has one of the highest percentages of coronavirus cases [per capita] in the country,” Mahoney said. “Two people have died and one of them was a friend of mine. We need to nip this in the bud.”

Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said the emergency order was “not taken lightly” and followed numerous discussions with health officials as well as other municipal and county leaders in recent days.

Burns has not yet decided whether to allow the Strahorn Subdivision development team to move forward with working on roads and infrastructure associated with a 46-lot housing phase on 18.5 acres at the mouth of Slaughterhouse Canyon.

The Hailey city council voted to adopt the new restrictions Thursday.

“This may have been the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my 24 years of public service,” Mayor Martha Burke said.

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