On April 23, Gov. Brad Little announced a staged plan to reopen Idaho businesses. His plan has estimated dates for when businesses like nail salons, dine-in restaurants, and bars may be able to reopen, but none of those dates are certain.
Thus, many businesses in the state that have been shut down for the past several weeks (since March 25) may be shut down for several more, depending entirely on the judgement of the governor and his advisors. This undoubtedly has an economic effect on all Idaho businesses, but some businesses in Idaho have been shut down longer than others.
The city of Moscow shut down all bars, nightclubs, tasting rooms, and dine-in restaurants on March 21. Just four days later, it also shut down gyms, spas, tattoo parlors, barber shops, and salons. City officials also effectively shut down schools, colleges, and churches by banning gatherings of more than 10 people on those sites.
On March 23, city officials in Post Falls closed all bars, nightclubs, tasting rooms, and dine-in restaurants. Coeur d’Alene took similar action on the same day, shutting down bars and restaurants, except for to-go food orders.
In the city of Rathdrum, bars, nightclubs, tasting rooms, and dine-in restaurants were also forced to shut down on March 23. These same types of businesses located in Hayden have been closed down just as long. According to the Kootenai County Sheriff, before the emergency order came down in Hayden shutting down certain businesses, the mayor “conducted an in-person inspection of each restaurant falling within the city limits.” During the inspections, the mayor found that “[e]ach establishment was compliant with the CDC’s recommendations of no more than 10 people within each dining room.” Still, Hayden officials decided to shut down dine-in options.
On March 24, Bonners Ferry officials voted to shut down bars, nightclubs, tasting rooms, and dine-in restaurants. This particular ordinance gave businesses 48 hours’ notice before going into effect, so Bonners Ferry businesses ended up shutting down at around the time other Idaho businesses were directed to do so, via the governor’s statewide order.
Even the small town of Victor went on a hayday of closures. It was actually one of the first cities to order businesses to shut down. On March 19, the city government closed all theaters, bars, nightclubs, tasting rooms, buffets, salad bars, communal pools, locker rooms, saunas, gyms, spas, conference rooms, and museums. The city also prohibited all dine-in food and drink services, allowing restaurants and coffee shops to remain open only if they offer drive-through or takeout service.
Many businesses across the state have been stagnant since March 25. But those in Boise, Moscow, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Rathdrum, Hayden, Bonners Ferry, and Victor have all been suffering for longer. Both state and local governments have been shocking the economy with their responses to COVID-19, which means it is the duty of both the state and local governments to get the economy back on its feet.