Mother and daughter reunite with restrictions lifted on assisted living facilities in Idaho’s phase 4

HAYDEN, Idaho — Idaho transitioned to the fourth and final phase of Governor Little’s Rebounds plan on Saturday, meaning all businesses can reopen and groups larger than 50 people can once again gather.

In phase 4, residents are able to visit congregate facilities like senior living homes and jails. 

READ: Idaho to enter phase 4 of reopening plan on Saturday 

Sue Damon didn’t skip a beat when heading to Peterson Place Assisted Living, where her mom, Phyllis, is staying. 

When things started shutting down in Idaho, Damon feared the worst. 

“I was afraid I was never going to be able to hug her again,” said Damon. “It was hard.” 

She used to visit her mom two or three times a week. That had to stop, because of the pandemic. 

“I’d come and visit and I’d look at her through the window and talk on the phone, but it wasn’t the same. I’m very thankful for today,” said Damon. 

The visit has been a long time coming. 

“She looks so good and she still knows me,” said Damon. “I was afraid with her dementia she might not, so that felt good. 

Phyllis is one of many others suffering from dementia who live at Peterson Place Assisted Living. 

“It’s been very difficult because our residents don’t really understand what’s going on and why we’re wearing masks and why no one’s come,” said Heidi Peterson, the facility’s owner. “It’s been a challenge.”  

But they adapted, to make it through. 

“They have to wear masks when they come to visit, which is difficult because we have hard of hearing people and when you can’t read lips, it makes it really hard to communicate, so it’s going to be a learning curve for all of us for sure.” 

Damon gladly makes that change, so she doesn’t have to go another 93 days without a hug from her mom. 

“The virus has not gone away, and I know if we’re not careful it’s going to reoccur in big numbers, and places like this will be the first to shut down and I won’t be able to see her again,” said Damon. 

Phase 4 in Idaho also means clubs can reopen with standing room capacity. Big venues like sports stadiums and arenas can host events again, with restrictions. And groups of more than 50 people can gather, with proper safety measures in place.