Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Idaho, US, implement a four-stage plan to lift business restrictions in the state, with limited reopenings starting May 1.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Boise, Idaho
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
  • Pocatello, Idaho
  • Twin Falls, Idaho
  • Sun Valley, Idaho

This alert began 30 Apr 2020 21:38 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Idaho (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Idaho Governor Bradley Little has announced the start of a four-stage plan to gradually lift business and movement restrictions that had been imposed as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). During Stage 1 of the recovery plan, which will run May 1-15, places of worship will be allowed to reopen, provided they are able to comply with social distancing directives. Moreover, daycare centers and organized youth activities and camps may resume operations. Authorities urge vulnerable residents to continue self-isolation during this period; gatherings and nonessential travel should still be avoided.

Stage 2 is currently set to begin May 16, with the reopening of restaurants for dine-in services, hair salons, and gyms. Authorities will evaluate COVID-19 activity in the state before determining whether additional businesses should be allowed to reopen. Stages 3 and 4 are scheduled to start on May 30 and June 13, respectively; these stages will include increases in the sizes of gatherings allowed, as well as the reopening of bars and entertainment venues. State authorities could amend the implementation, timing, and/or content of each stage of the recovery plan - to include reinstating lifted restrictions - if the number of COVID-19 cases increases at any juncture.

At the same time, officials have also extended through at least May 29 orders requiring all travelers entering Idaho to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, unless they are performing essential services or they live in a bordering state and work at an essential business in Idaho. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, healthcare facilities, and businesses working in security, transport, and critical infrastructure, may remain open. Except as otherwise indicated at each phase of the recovery plan, nonessential businesses can operate with their employees working from home.

Significant transport and business disruptions remain likely. Authorities will keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing any remaining restrictions.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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