Idaho - COVID-19 Covered

Idaho

Total Cases: 21,670 (August 4)
Tests Administered: 185,337 (August 2)
Fatalities: 200 (August 4)
Testing:
  • Information on COVID-19 testing in Idaho can be found here.
  • Governor Little’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved an additional $40 million to increase COVID-19 testing. (July 24) 
  • Governor Little created a public-private task force to develop a COVID-19 testing strategy. The task force will address safety, efficiency, scale, and concerns regarding testing for vulnerable populations including minorities and health care workers. (April 24)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Little classifies essential businesses as healthcare operators, essential infrastructure operators, government services, childcare providers, businesses that provide essential resources to the disadvantaged, grocery store, automotive repairs and supplies hops, gas stations, convenience stores dry cleaners, laundromats, hardware store, firearm businesses, food cultivation businesses, mailing businesses, news media, transportation services, supplies, and shipment businesses, and home repair businesses are all consider essential services. (March 25)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Little signed an executive order making approximately 150 COVID-19 related healthcare regulation waivers permanent, including waivers to lower healthcare license barriers and increase telehealth access. (June 22)
  • Governor Little signed an executive order loosening Department of Labor unemployment benefit rules including allowing those not employed due to COVID-19 concerns to gain a medical waiver for not seeking employment, in addition to other filing requirement suspensions. (June 11)
  • The Idaho Department of Labor announced that they have contracted with a call center to provide additional personnel for those who want to talk to someone about their unemployment benefits claim. (May 29)
  • Idaho released safe practices guidance for group gatherings for specific industries that are reopening. (May 27)
  • The Idaho Department of Labor will waive the one-week waiting period for all unemployment applicants, consider claimants as meeting the available-for-work criteria if they are isolated and unavailable to work at the request of a medical professional, their employer, or their local health district, and provide parties an additional 14 days to appeal claims decisions. (March 27)
  • Governor Little’s declaration of a state of emergency allows nurses who have retired or left the profession to expedite the renewal of their nursing licenses. Governor Little also said that he has begun looking into ways to help provide childcare for healthcare workers during their shifts if that becomes a major issue. (March 13)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The Idaho Housing and Finance Association announced the Housing Preservation Program, which will provide short-term rent and utility support for Idahoans experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic. (June 15)
  • Governor Little announced that the state is leveraging federal coronavirus relief funds to cover local public safety personnel salaries, and allowing cities and counties to provide up to $200 million in property tax relief. (June 8)
  • Governor Little announced back to work cash bonuses of up to $1,500 for individuals currently collecting unemployment to return to work. (June 5)
  • During a virtual town hall, Governor Little said that landlords should avoid evictions when possible, but he didn’t issue a mandate. (March 31)
  • Governor Little extended the state income tax filing and payment deadline to June 15. (March 23)
  • Governor Little declared a state of emergency and in doing so, ordered state agencies to use state resources to “do everything reasonably possible” to assist people affected by COVID-19. The state of emergency put Idaho’s price gouging statute into effect, which makes it illegal to charge an “exorbitant or excessive price for fuel, food, medicine, and water for human consumption. (March 13)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Little announced the launch of the “One Idaho” program, which will highlight the resilience and adaptability of Idaho businesses, employees, and consumers during the reopening of Idaho. (June 9)
  • Governor Little’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved the eligibility expansion for cash grants to self-employed individuals. (May 18)
  • Governor Little announced small businesses in Idaho could obtain a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their employees and patrons at supplies.idaho.gov. (May 14)
  • Governor Little announced a new Idaho Child Care, Emergency Grant, to give childcare business owners financial resources to reopen and continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 1)
  • Governor Little announced a $300 million “Idaho Rebound” grant program. The program gives up to $10,000 in grants to small businesses that did not receive Payroll Protection loans or did not receive $10,000 or more in loans. (April 30)
  • The Idaho Department of Labor will not be charging businesses who pay a quarterly unemployment tax when employees are laid off due to the coronavirus and will provide parties an additional 14 days to appeal claims decisions. (March 27)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Little announced the state will remain in Stage 4 of its reopening plan for at least two more weeks. (July 23)
  • Governor Little announced that the state will remain in Stage 4 of his reopening plan for at least two more weeks. (July 9) 
  • Governor Little announced that Idaho did not meet the criteria to continue past Stage 4 as expected and will remain in Stage 4 for at least two more weeks. Little will also begin to allow for more regional responses to COVID-19 in the state. (June 25)
  • Governor Little announced Idaho has met the criteria to move into Stage 4. (June 11)
  • Safety protocols were put in place for long-term care facilities, nightclubs, and employers of people who are at greater risk of COVID-19, while restaurants were also updated to allow for more than six people at a table. (June 11)
  • Governor Little released health, safety, and social distancing guidelines for outfitting services businesses that are reopening. (June 3)
  • Governor Little said that salons, bars, and other retail business that violate the phased reopening plan could lose their operating licenses. (May 8)
  • Health and safety protocols have been published for the reopening of businesses including gyms, daycares, youth activities, religious services, agriculture, close contact services, and general businesses. (May 6)
  • Governor Little announced a four-stage plan to open Idaho in phases if criteria are met for each stage. Stage 1 could start by May 1 and would open daycares, youth activities, and places of worship if proper social distancing guidelines are followed. In Stage 2, restaurants with approved health plans, hair salons, gyms, and recreation centers could reopen though telework, and social distancing would still be promoted when possible. In Stage 3, gatherings of 10 to 50 people could resume, nightclub plans for reopening in Stage 4 would be developed, nonessential travel could resume, and people entering the state would no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Telework and social distancing would still be encouraged when feasible. In Stage 4, gatherings of 50 or more people could resume, bars and nightclubs could reopen, visits to senior facilities could resume with increased hygiene and social distancing measures, movie theaters, and sporting events could resume with limited capacity and social distancing, all workers would be able to return to work with increased sanitation and health protocols. (April 23)
  • Idaho has launched the “Recreate Responsibility” program, which encourages the continued use of public parks and lands but asks people to maintain 6 feet apart, bring food and supplies, stay close to ones’ own community, and minimize overall contact with other people. (April 16)
  • Governor Little has issued guidance including practicing good hygiene, avoiding groups of 10 or more, avoiding discretionary travel, not visiting nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities, working from home when possible, and taking advantage of the many drive-thrus, pickup, or delivery options for food. (March 18)

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  •  Governor Little’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved $10 million to equip schools with supplies needed to reopen safely. (July 24) 
  • Governor Little released the Idaho Back to School Framework, a plan that sets expectations for reopening in the fall and emphasizes the importance of in-person instruction. (July 10) 
  • Governor Little announced the formation of two new committees to advise the Idaho State Board of Education on the reopening of schools and addressing the inequalities in digital technology access in education. (June 17)

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Idaho colleges and universities planning to reopen in the fall can be found here.
  • Boise State University will resume in-person classes with hybrid learning options to allow for online continuation. Additional distancing, health, and safety measures will be taken for those who choose to return to in-person classes according to the campus’s reintegration plan. (June 18)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com