Idaho Moving Back To Phase 3 Of Reopening, Governor Says, As COVID-19 Cases Rise

Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at a news conference in Boise on March 13. Less than four months after the state confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, it has emerged as one of the nation's biggest hot spots. Keith Ridler/AP
File photo. Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks at a news conference in Boise on March 13. It has emerged as one of the nation's hot spots recently. CREDIT: Keith Ridler/AP

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Idaho is moving backward. That was the announcement Monday from Gov. Brad Little. He said the entire state will move back to its previous stage of reopening: Phase 3.

The change comes because of quickly rising coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the state. Hospital systems in North Idaho and in the Boise metropolitan area have seen hospitalizations rise and bed and staff resources stretched thin.

The governor announced that the previous Phase 3 limitations are in place, with some changes:

-Indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people maximum.

-Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25% of venue capacity.

-Physical distancing requirements are in place for gatherings of all types.

-Long-term care facilities will not be allowed to operate without requiring masks inside.

-Nightclubs can only operate as bars.

Little did not recommend or mandate schools move to remote learning. And there is no prohibition against church services or travel into and out of the state. The governor also has not imposed a statewide masking directive as numerous others states have.

As of Monday, Oct. 26, Idaho has recorded at least 59,344 COVID-19 cases and 573 deaths since March.

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Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced a statewide pullback to a modified Phase 2 of reopening on Nov. 13, 2020. But he declined to issue a mask mandate, as most other states in the region have done in some form. CREDIT: Idaho Public Television/Governor's Office

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