TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Magic Valley Young Professionals, a committee in the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce, serves as a way for both new and current residents to form relationships and network to see what opportunities the area provides.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of the group's plans postponed or canceled. Despite the setbacks and rise in COVID cases, they are still hosting events for the community this month, including some at local bars.
CDC recommendations include limiting gathering sizes, but the group has already planned three bar-based events over the next few weeks.
"Our approach has been one of balance. One of caution for our members and for our community but also keeping some semblance of normalcy and promoting those local businesses, the local community," says Andy Hohwieler, an MVYP member.
They'll host two trivia nights at KOTO Brewing Company on December 9 and December 30. They've also planned an "Unwind Wednesday" on December 16 at Milner's Gate.
For those who plan to attend these events, they are encouraged to abide by safety protocols.
"We at the Chamber are encouraging the Young Professionals and all of our committees who meet to follow the guidelines that are out there: watch your distance, wash your hands, wear a mask. Particularly when you can't keep physical distancing," says Shawn Barigar, President of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
While the events are put on by the Chamber, they won't be the ones responsible for enforcing safety protocols or regulations.
"Those limitations again are really put in place by those individual businesses. So as they're looking at the ways they can keep appropriate physical distancing and those types of things in their business, they're the ones who are putting those in place," says Barigar.
The committee will work with the South Central Community Action Partnership on December 16 to gift wrap donated presents to help families in need. COVID protocols will be in place.
Right now, the events are still on but could be canceled depending on COVID case numbers.
"The whole situation is fluid, and we are willing to adapt and change with the circumstances. But we feel as long as the businesses are open for business, we want to support them. And we feel like that can be done in a safe and responsible way," said Hohwieler.