North Idaho businesses amp up safety, prepare to re-open during Phase 2

SPOKANE, Wash. — Idaho Governor Brad Little announced the state is in good shape Thursday afternoon, and he gave the green light for Idahoans to move on to Phase 2.

“I’m happy to report today that on Saturday we will enter Stage 2 of our 4-Stage Idaho rebounds plan to reopen our economy,” Governor Little said.

Phase 2 starts Saturday. Restaurant dining rooms can open, along with indoor gyms, recreational centers and hair salons-as long as they follow safety protocols.

Bars, which were previously set to open in Phase 4 are now set to open in Phase 3 on May 30. The governor also noted small businesses can apply for a 30-day supply of PPE through the state’s supply website.

The governor is still asking out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days, unless they come from an area with low infection rates.
The state recently acquired 8,000 testing kits and anticipates getting 40,000 more.

North Idaho businesses falling under Phase 2 are already getting staff trained and facilities ready to go. However, don’t walk into one of these places and expect it to be back to normal.

There’s a lot of excitement from these businesses in north Idaho. Though, there is also anxiety. They want to make sure they do everything by the book. They’re going through every protocol, and what-if situation so they can get their doors open this saturday and keep everyone safe.

Businesses are wasting no time getting prepped to re-open after hearing the green light from Governor Little to move to Phase 2.

“Without businesses and individuals exercising safe practices, we cannot rebound to the prosperity that we had before march,” Governor Little said.

Triple Play in Hayden has gone two months without business. They’re taking every precaution in the book to re-opening.

“Things like DC Superhero here, will only be operating two sides because you’re too close while you’re playing,” said Chris McCreary, assistant general manager at Triple Play.

They’ve had safety plans laid out for weeks.

“Almost everywhere is marked up to where guests should be standing,” McCreary said.

The fun center for families will open Saturday with a capacity of up to 300 guests.

“It’s a very conservative number. We want to make sure we safely social distance people while they’re in line, while they are in the attractions,” McCreary said.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene will also re-open Saturday with only 200 guests at a time and added safety measures.

“They’ll notice some Plexi glass in between some of the staff members they’re going to be engaging with. All of our staff members are going to be wearing masks,” said Kip Sharbono, center director at the Kroc Center.

Some attractions will be closed at both businesses – like the rock climbing wall.

Others will have some modifications, like the ropes course, to make it safer.

“We created this sleeve out of a PVC discharge hose. To be able to sanitize it. The guests have to hold onto this to walk through,” McCreary said.

Triple Play has five additional people they brought on the team to manage safety around their facility.

“We will have a sanitizer upstairs, downstairs, and a roaming sanitizer position as well,” McCreary said.

Businesses are doing what they can to get back to normal, but say that’ll take time. If it feels like they’re going overboard, it’s to keep people safe. Whether that’s closing every other cardio machine or arcade game, they’re doing what they can with what they’re allowed to do.

Both the Kroc Center and Triple Play told 4 News Now, while they are following the instructions set by Governor Little, they’re making modifications along the way that works for their organization.

For example, the Kroc Center said even if it gets to Phase 4, that doesn’t automatically mean they’ll re-open all their services and open to full capacity. They’re making observations during this next phase to see what works best.

Triple Play said they’re evaluating the first weekend being back open, then they’ll make changes or revisions, as needed. They said they’ll look at each attraction and if they need stricter rules, they’ll make them. If they learn that they’ve overdone it at certain spots, they’ll make changes.