Washington businesses have mixed feelings on Idaho’s Stage 4 advancement
LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. — Idaho is fully open as the state moves to its final stage of Governor Little’s Stay Healthy reopening plan. This means instead of caps on gathering sizes like in other stages, there is no limit on the amount of people. However, people need to be socially distance from each other.
The step to Stage 4 has one restaurant in Liberty Lake a little concerned for a few reasons.
“We are a little bit concerned about that because you know, you get the large gatherings over there, plus the employees go over there because there’s more jobs available,” said Kyle Barbieri, manager at True Legends Grill. “The top concern is going back a level and then losing our indoor seating and having to come out here because in the summer it gets hot, people want to be indoors.”
4 News Now asked the Spokane Regional Health District’s spokesperson if Idaho’s move to Stage 4 is a concern for Spokane County. The health district said this would be addressed during Wednesday morning’s media briefing.
Spokane County is on the verge of moving back to Phase 2 due to the number of COVID cases. It is quite the opposite in Idaho.
According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the state has a seven-day average of 8.6 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 4.3% of tests.
Though gatherings have no limits, the health department says local health districts report infections are connected to people gathering at places like school-related events, social gatherings and recreational activities.
“If you think you’re sick then you know what, then stay home,” said Terry Alexander, who supports the move to Stage 4. “If not, then come outside, gather.”
Coeur d’Alene Public Schools started requiring masks at three of its schools on Monday because of an increase in quarantine and COVID-19 cases. This came after the district’s mask mandate was lifted nearly three weeks ago.
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Despite the concerns Barbieri has, he sees some positive impacts to Idaho’s move.
“Being close to the border we can get away with it because people they don’t want to be in the fully packed areas of Idaho,” Barbieri said. “They want to feel safer and come over here where there’s less people.”
It is not known what kind of COVID numbers would move Idaho back a stage, but people say if it happens, it happens.
“If we have to go back, you know what, it is what it is,” Alexander said. “But you know what, right now we’re being safe. Idaho’s being safe. Washington’s being safe.”
Washington’s metrics will be reevaluated on May 17 to determine if any counties will go back a phase.
On top of not gathering sizes, masks are strongly recommended, though still required in nursing homes. As far as vaccines, Idaho’s health department is also strongly encouraging that, too.
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