It takes a community to beat a pandemic

It’s up to you. It’s up to me. It’s up to that pain-in-the-butt neighbor we’re usually trying to avoid anyways.

In case you have been living under a rock, the Coronavirus is working us over like chicken cutlets here in the Wood River Valley.  Heck, last weekend, Governor Brad Little issued a Shelter in Place order for the entire county.

“We’re the coronavirus capital of Idaho,” councilwoman Heidi Husbands said during this week’s Hailey Town Council teleconference meeting.

With “community spread” now part of the equation locally, the experts are saying that we need to protect our already over-burdened medical establishment. The only way to get the coronavirus under control is to avoid other people.

So far, however, we’re not doing a great job. Local law enforcement and other officials have seen far too many people not following the stay at home and social distancing orders.

If we don’t stop behaving like this—being careless in the face of a national health crisis—they are going to be forced to make us.

That’s why it’s important that we all do our part. It should be easy enough to follow: stay at home, wash your hands a lot and get outside and get some exercise and fresh air, just stay at least six-feet away from everybody else.

This means no dinner parties or play dates or catching up in the produce aisle at the supermarket. Group hugs are also off the plate, for now.

“This is serious,” Hailey Fire Chief Mike Baledge said about the steps we all must take. “This will save lives.”

The official State Order to Self Isolate runs until April 13th unless it is extended, superseded or amended. Until that time, all individuals in Blaine County must:

-Self isolate at their place of residence except to provide or receive certain essential services, activities or work.

-Cease nonessential business and governmental operations at physical locations in Blaine County.

-Prohibit all nonessential gatherings of any number of individuals.

-Cessation of all nonessential travel.

There has been some confusion about exactly what an “essential business” is. The list includes 17 categories such as healthcare and supporting industries; supermarkets, convenient stores, food banks and any business that supplies or cultivates food; stores that sell products necessary to the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a household; businesses and nonprofits that provide services for the to the disadvantaged; media; gas stations and automotive repair; banks and insurance services; etc.

To read the full Shelter in Place order, to find out more information about the COVID-19 resources or for a somewhat accurate list of open businesses and non-profits, go to For more help, email

By Mike McKenna

This story originally appeared in the Chamber Corner for the Wood River Weekly.

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