Idaho - COVID-19 Covered

Idaho

Total Cases: 2,839 (June 2)
Tests Administered: 46,697 (May 30)
Fatalities: 82 (June 2)
Testing:
  • The Idaho Testing Task Force recommended that the state invest in increasing local testing capacities, immediately expand molecular diagnostic testing, begin limited use of serology tests, and overall expansion of testing to people including those that are asymptomatic by ranked priority determined by exposure. (May 22)
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending $56 million to Idaho to expand their COVID-19 testing capabilities. (May 20)
  • 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)
  • Any health care provider can request a test from the state as long as they meet the CDC infection control requirements for collection, however not all providers in Idaho meet those requirements, according to the Department of Health. (March 22)

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 announced that Idaho has partnered with Battelle to decontaminate N95 mask for healthcare workers free of charge (May 6)
  • Governor Little extended the state’s emergency declaration to expedite contracts and supplies procurement. The declaration also allowed the Governor to suspend regulations relating to licensure requirements for out of state telehealth providers. (April 24)
  • An organization formed by Idaho businesses called “Crush the Curve” has announced efforts to test all essential workers. (April 9)
  • 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 provided childcare for healthcare worker during their shifts if that becomes a major issue. (March 13)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • 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)
  • Governor Little announced that Idaho would not borrow money in the bond market to meet anticipated cash flow requirements for the current fiscal year and would instead leverage federal relief funds for cash management. (May 22)
  • During a virtual townhall, Governor Little said that landlords should avoid evictions when possible, but he didn’t issue a mandate. (March 31)
  • Governor Little signed an executive order allowing him to transfer $39.3 million to the Disaster Emergency Account (March 27)
  • Idaho expects to receive at least $1.25 billion from the federal stimulus package. (March 27)
  • Governor Little extended the state income tax filing and payment deadline to June 15, 2020. (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:

  • Idaho released safe practices guidance for group gatherings for specific industries that are reopening. (May 27)
  • 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)
  • Governor Little formed the Economic Recovery Advisory Committee to “provide recommendations on rebuilding employee and consumer confidence, providing for business stability and growth and eventually, business promotion and attraction.” The committee will be made up of business leaders. (April 23)
  • 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)
  • Governor Little announced that small businesses in Idaho would be eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. (March 23)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • No records found as of June
  • Movie theaters have been moved into Stage Three of reopening. (May 28)
  • Governor Little announced Idaho has met the criteria to move into Stage Three of reopening and will it will begin May 29. (May 28)
  • Governor Little announced the protocols for bars/breweries/wineries/distilleries and outdoor pools/splashpads/waterparks to open in Stage Three of the Idaho Rebounds plan. (May 18)
  • Governor Little announced that Idaho has met the necessary conditions to begin Stage Two of the state’s reopening plan. (May 14)
  • 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)
  • Stage One of Idaho’s reopening plan began on May 1 as anticipated. (May 1)
  • Governor Little announced a four-stage plan to open Idaho in phases if criteria are met for each stage. Stage One could start by May 1 and would open daycares, youth activities, and places of worship if proper social distancing guidelines are followed. In Stage Two, 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 Three, gatherings of 10 to 50 people could resume, nightclub plans for reopening in Stage Four 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 Four, 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)
  • An amended order allows any business to open for curbside and delivery service. Businesses that can adhere to social distancing and sanitation measures will be allowed to reopen after April 30. (April 17)
  • Governor Little extended the states’ stay-at-home order through April 30, which closed all non-essential businesses that include bars, nightclubs, gyms, recreational facilities, entertainment venues, convention centers, hair and nail salons, and limited public transport for uses only pertaining to getting to essential services, ban all non-essential gathering outside homes, and force all people outside to maintain six feet of distance from others. (April 15)

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Idaho has launched the “Recreate Responsibility” program, which encourages the continued use of public parks and lands but asks people to maintain 6 feet of distance from each other, bringing food and supplies, staying close to ones’ own community, and overall minimizing 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-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food. (March 18)

Delivery Services:

  • Restaurants were permitted to reopen for dine-in services with certain health, safety, and social distancing guidelines in place. (May 16)
  • All restaurants, bars, and nightclubs have been ordered to close. Restaurants can still provide drive-thru, pick up, and delivery service. (March 25)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • The Idaho State Board of Education revised reopening criteria to require no statewide stay-at-home order being in place, no community spread in the school’s area, approval by the local board of trustees as well as plans to immediately close if a student, faculty or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, and approval by local public health districts for cleaning, disinfection and distancing protocols (May 12)
  • Governor Little has proposed education budget cuts totaling $99 million to make up for potential COVID-19 related revenue shortages. (May 8)
  • The Idaho State Board of Education set the criteria to reopen schools as the lifting of all state and local social distancing orders, 14 days after the peak of the COVID-19 infection curve, approval from the local public health district, and approval from the local school board. (April 14)
  • The Idaho State Board of Education has issued a “soft closure” that would continue food service for populations that need it, develop and implement plans for delivering remote or distance learning strategies (online, video or teleconference), and develop a plan for providing special education-related services. (April 6)

State Higher Education:

  • There is no uniform mandate for higher education institutes to close as of June 1.
  • Boise State University has threatened eviction for all individuals living in university-owned apartments that violate social distancing guidelines. The University has already closed all dorms. (April 4)
  • The University of Idaho took similar measures to Boise State University in addition to canceling commencement. (March 20)
  • Notably, Boise State University began teaching courses remotely and urged students to move out of dormitories. (March 16)

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