In a press conference on Thursday, Governor Brad Little announced that Idaho will officially be going into stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan starting May 16. More than 95% of Idaho businesses will be opening back up on Saturday, according to Little.
Stage 2 will allow for indoor gyms, hair and nail salons and dine-in restaurants to reopen as long as the facilities maintain sanitation standards and practice social distancing precautions. Restaurants will have to reduce seating capacity by 50% to accommodate for social distancing.
Little announced that Idaho bars will now be able to open in Stage 3, instead of Stage 4 as originally planned.
He has also decided to modify the previous requirements for out-of-state travelers.
“Folks looking to come to Idaho from places with no community spread… are now able to freely enter Idaho,” Little said in a press conference. “This step will help Idaho’s vital tourism industry while also keeping Idahoans safe.”
Stage 2 allows for social gatherings of less than 10 people. Little encouraged vulnerable Idahoans to continue to self-isolate and take all proper social distancing and personal safety precautions.
“We are better off in Idaho than elsewhere. Not because the problem doesn’t exist but because we are doing a good job of following social distancing and protecting our family, friends and neighbors,” Little said. “If we continue to be diligent about washing our hands, limiting exposure to others and wearing face masks in public, we control the outcome.”
Employers are still encouraged to utilize telework as much as possible. Little asked that employees start returning back to work in phases, in order to maintain social distancing and allow for employers to implement new sanitation protocol.
Small businesses can now apply for a 30-day supply of non-medical, personal protective wear like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer at supplies.idaho.gov.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean has also signed a public health order, agreeing with Gov. Little’s Stage 2 plans.
“We will always take precautions that we believe are necessary to protect the health of our community, and (we) really want to open the economy,” McLean said in a video press conference.