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Idaho rolled back to Stage 3 of reopening plan amid coronavirus spike

Gov. Brad Little announced Idaho will be moving back into Stage 3 of Idaho Rebounds during a press conference on Monday.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced Monday that Idaho will be moving back into Stage 3 of the Idaho Rebounds plan. This decision was made due to healthcare facilities facing increased demand and capacity constraints due to COVID-19 statewide.

"Hospitals throughout the state are quickly filling up or are already full with COVID-19 patients and other patients, and way too many healthcare workers are out sick with COVID-19," Little said.

Effective at 12 a.m. on Oct. 27, Stage 3 restrictions will be put into place statewide:

  • Indoor gatherings must be limited to 50 people or less
  • Outdoor gatherings must remain at 25% capacity or less
  • Social distancing guidelines remain in place
  • Long-term care facilities must require masks on the premises
  • Seating-only at nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Nightclubs can only operate as bars
  • Employers are encouraged to continue allowing employees to work remotely or to make special accommodations for in-house employees

Despite the rollback, Little said Idaho's economy has not shut down. In-person church services will not end, travel in and out of the state will not be restricted, and schools will not be required to return to remote learning.

"Our students fall too far behind when they're away from their teachers and classmates," Little said. "We must continue to prioritize safe in-person learning for students across Idaho."

When Idaho confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in March, Little implemented a statewide health order and stay-at-home order. Eventually, authority was given to public health districts to make decisions on how to slow the spread of the virus. While Little said this was the right thing to do, he also said it has not worked as well as it should.

"The virus is relentless," Little said. "In some parts of the state, there simply has been insufficient efforts to protect lives."

Little held a press conference at 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26. The press conference will be held in the Lincoln Auditorium in the Capitol building.

This comes after Idaho reported over 1,000 new cases on Thursday, Oct. 22 and Friday, Oct. 23. The highest number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic was also reported on Friday.

To watch the full conference, click here:

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.