Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Idaho, US, to lift additional business restrictions starting May 16. Gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned.

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 15 May 2020 00:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Idaho (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Idaho Governor Bradley Little announced that Stage 2 of the state's economic recovery plan would begin May 16. Officials will lift additional business restrictions that they had previously imposed as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). During Stage 2, which will run through at least May 29, multiple businesses will be allowed to operate, albeit with some limitations:

  • Gyms, fitness centers, and recreation facilities.
  • Personal care businesses, such as hair salons and barber shops, while limiting the number of customers simultaneously within their premises.
  • Dine-in services at restaurants, while limiting the number of customers to 50 percent their maximum capacity.

Authorities had allowed places of worship, daycare centers, and organized youth activities and camps to resume operations since May 1. Other nonessential businesses, such as bars, theaters, and concert venues, must remain closed. Authorities will evaluate COVID-19 activity in the state before determining whether more businesses should be allowed to reopen in Stage 3, which is scheduled to begin May 30. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, healthcare facilities, and companies in security, transport, and critical infrastructure, may remain open. All businesses must enhance sanitation procedures, provide protective equipment for workers, and ensure social distancing measures among clients and employees.

Authorities maintain a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people. They continue to urge vulnerable residents to self-isolate, and all residents to avoid nonessential travel, maintain social distance measures, and wear face coverings when in public. Officials strongly encourage travelers entering Idaho from cities or states with prevalent community spread to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

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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