MCCALL, Idaho — Valley County has only had two confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the county took preventive measures early asking people not to travel to Valley County while also shutting down the ski resorts, lodging and suggesting people wear masks.
We spoke with McCall Mayor Bob Giles, who told us the low number of cases has a lot to do with being in a rural area and not having access to testing. Still, he also believes the protocols they implemented and the people's cooperation helped and he also credited the advice of Dr. Gregory Irwin at St. Luke's in McCall.
Last Sunday, we noticed a steady string of vehicles driving back from Valley County at Banks, so we wanted to check in with this tourist area.
"I feel like most people are being pretty responsible, but I think you are right on your observation there is a little more traffic, people are driving back and forth," said Mayor Giles. "I think they are being respectful and I think it is extremely important for the success of the whole state of Idaho to continue to be open."
Resort communities have shown they are susceptible to the coronavirus, and McCall has a hospital, but it only has three ICU beds and one ventilator, so it's critical to stop the spread of COVID-19 as they have done so far.
As far as the travel advisory, the city of McCall is following the lead of Governor Brad Little.
The travel advisory also states that people should be flexible, patient and respectful of the protocols McCall has put into place.
People should have masks handy, the restaurants are open for curbside instead of dine-in and the city is only allowing a certain number of people inside grocery stores and hardware stores.
"I think a keyword I would use is respect," said Mayor Giles. "When you visit a different community than where you live, be respectful of their requests because it is a safety issue and a health issue."
The Mayor told us businesses have taken a hit to their bottom line as many companies rely on tourism to fuel their industry, he told us several of the local businesses have applied for government grants and loans.
At least McCall is currently in what the locals call "the mud season," the period between the busy winter and summer tourism season, the Mayor hopes Idaho will be able to progress through the Governor's phases by the time summer rolls around.
In the meantime, people can travel to McCall, but it is crucial not to overwhelm this resort community.