Following the guidance of Idaho’s public health experts, Governor Brad Little has issued a statewide self-isolation order (that is, stay at home) in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Order became effective March 25, 2020, and will stay in effect until April 15, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended by the Director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
The Order directs all individuals living in Idaho to self-isolate at their place of resident and directs the following:
- Individuals may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential business and government services;
- Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from the self-isolation order, but they are urged to find shelter and government agencies to provide it;
- All businesses and governmental agencies must cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the state of Idaho;
- All non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals are prohibited; and
- All non-essential travel must cease.
“Essential Activities” generally include:
- Engaging in activities or tasks essential to health and safety, or to the health and safety of one’s family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets) or livestock;
- Obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver, including by truck or rail, those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
- Engaging in outdoor activity, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements;
- Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted under the Order, including “Minimum Basic Operations” (the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business and facilitate employees of the business by being able to work remotely); and
- Caring for a family member or pet in another household.
Individuals may leave their residence to work for or obtain services at any healthcare operation, including:
- Hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies;
- Other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare service providers mental health providers; and
- Any related or ancillary healthcare services.
“Healthcare Operations” also includes veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals. It does not include fitness or exercise gyms and similar facilities.
“Essential Infrastructure” includes, but is not limited to:
- Public works construction, commercial construction, and the transfer and selling thereof,
- Construction of housing (in particular, affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness), and the transfer and selling thereof;
- Airport operations, water, sewer, gas, and electrical;
- Oil refining, mining, roads and highways, public transportation, and solid waste collection and removal; and
- Internet and telecommunication systems.
All essential infrastructure must carry out their services or work in compliance with social distancing requirements.
Essential Government Functions
All first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, court and law enforcement personnel, and others working for or to support “Essential Businesses” are categorically exempt from this Order.
Moreover, the Order does not prohibit any individual from performing or accessing “Essential Governmental Functions.”
“Essential Governmental Functions” means all services needed to ensure the continuing operation of local, state, federal, or tribal government agencies and provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Additionally, all Essential Government Functions must comply with social distancing requirements.
The Order identifies various “Essential Businesses” that may remain open. These include:
- Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;
- Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other similar establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meat, fish, poultry, liquor, beer, and wine, and any other household consumer products. This includes products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;
- Food cultivation and production, including farming, livestock, fishing, and food processing;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
- Gas stations, auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;
- Banks, credit unions, and financial institutions;
- Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order, so long as the food is provided by a pick-up or takeaway basis;
- Hotels, motels, shared rental units, and similar facilities for purposes of housing or to quarantine;
- Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home;
- Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses or Essential Governmental Functions with support or supplies necessary to operate; and
- Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences.
The Order permits cities, counties, and public health districts of Idaho to enact more stringent public health orders than those in the Order.
More detail guidance on handling the COVID-19 impact is provided in the FAQs published by Idaho’s Governor’s Office.