Municipalities in Blaine County will decide on more COVID-19 restrictions

Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 19:52:52-04


Hailey became the first municipality to adopt the emergency order putting more protective measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This public health pandemic requires measures of this proportion, which we are not taking lightly," said Hailey Mayor Martha Burke. "Please cooperate fully with the state order and for the next two weeks with this additions Hailey city order."


Blaine County is known for their tourism and skiing industry, but right now the county is trying to deal with the coronavirus, the Sun Valley area has the most COVID-19 cases in the state and two of the first related coronavirus deaths.

Leaders in Blaine County have been the first in Idaho to aggressively act, they were the first district to close their schools, they were the first to initiate a shelter-in-place order as they did so a week ago and now they are proposing more restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

County and city leaders are proposing a new emergency order that would require people who travel to Blaine County from out-of-state to quarantine for 14 days, regardless if they are residents or not.

Leaders want to impose a travel ban that would prohibit residents from leaving the county to buy goods they can get within the county while also imposing no gatherings inside of homes between non-relatives.

The order would also prohibit hotels and short-term rentals from renting out rooms to anybody outside the county with the exception being health care workers and essential government employees.

In addition the proposal would bring a stop to construction of houses and commercial developments, the order would prohibit landscaping companies and other residential services to cease operations and electricians, plumbers and other trades would only be allowed to perform immediate and essential services.

This proposal would take effect on Monday, March 30 and would last for two weeks.

"The balance of economic health as well as physical health is always a challenge that we face," said Neil Bradshaw the Mayor of Ketchum. "There are going to be people in the community that want us to do a bit more for the economy and others that want to do more for the health, I feel like we have a good balance."

While this emergency order was put together in a joint-collaboration between county and city leaders each municipality will vote on whether it gets implemented.

We listened to a special public meeting with the Hailey City Council at noon and the emotions started to emerge.

Many residents asked the council questions while choking back tears, but the residents also praised their leaders and identified the difficult job they have with making these tough decisions.

"Time will tell if these are the right decisions," said Mayor Bradshaw. "But they are decisions that are made with the interest of the community at heart.”

It's also important to point out that the original isolation order Blaine County implemented a week ago became the template for Governor Little's shelter-in-place order he issued on Wednesday.

“Well I think we have to take the lead here and it is right for us because we are on the forefront," said Mayor Bradshaw. "If that helps out the state, we are happy to do our part.”

Mayor Bradshaw told us he still encourages residents to get outside and get some fresh air, but also remember to practice social distancing at the same time.

"That's important for our mental health," said Mayor Bradshaw. “I am happy with the way people have reacted, we’ve gone from a very vibrant town to a quiet town, the streets are quiet and the shops are closed down.”

While there were many concerns from business owners perhaps one silver lining is this is the time of year when the Sun Valley area transitions out of their busy winter tourism season, but it's different in 2020 as the health of the community is at the forefront of every decision.

Currently Blaine County has 66 confirmed cases of the coronavirus including two deaths, a man over the age of 80 and a man over the age of 60.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at this time reports that it is not clear if these men had any underlying health issues.