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Idaho coronavirus updates: May 13-15

See our daily updates in Idaho from May 13-15 as we work to separate facts from fear.

BOISE, Idaho — For the latest Idaho coronavirus updates, click here.

We're closely tracking Idaho's number of deaths and cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as well as what's happening as Idaho continues to reopen

New confirmed COVID-19 Idaho cases and recoveries, closures, reopening plan details and resources to help could be announced every day. We have multiple graphs and timelines looking at the coronavirus case trends in Idaho, including a new graph showing a 14-day average that the State of Idaho is tracking to determine when the Gem State can move to the next reopening stage. 

Latest coronavirus updates:

Click here for previous daily updates.

Friday, May 15

3:30 p.m. - Restaurants at The Village at Meridian planning to open their door again

As Idaho enters the next step of phased reopening, The Village at Meridian and its tenants work to continue to meet the proper standards set forward by the state and local government. 

Restaurants in The Village at Meridian with plans to open their dining rooms this weekend are as follows:

Saturday:

  • Kona Grill
  • Yard House
  • Twigs
  • Grimaldi's
  • Donut + Dog
  • Bodovino
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Chipotle 
  • Bite Me

Sunday:

• Big Al's

Also reopening in Stage 2 will be Axiom, Cycle Bar, and Panache Aveda Salon and Spa. 

"We are excited to welcome the public back to The Village at Meridian to enjoy their favorite shops and restaurants but consider the health and safety of our visitors to be our number one priority," said Hugh Crawford, General Manager of The Village at Meridian.  

11:35 a.m. - Boise National Forest to open some lower elevation campgrounds Memorial Day weekend

As Idaho begins to rebound from COVID-19 and warmer weather entices visitors, the Boise National Forest is working hard to open some lower elevation campgrounds for the Memorial Day weekend.  

As a reminder, our developed campgrounds are currently closed.

"We are asking visitors to avoid our developed campgrounds so crews can work as quickly as possible to open sites for the Memorial Day weekend," said Danelle Highfill, Boise National Forest recreation manager. "It is an issue of public safety. Crews routinely need to drop hazard trees that have been damaged because of snow load, and they can't do that if the campsites are occupied."

The COVID-19 situation has delayed preparation for the normal campground openings that take place in mid to late May. 

Some developed campgrounds will be opened with limited services if water testing and repairs are delayed or extensive.

Visitors should know that the majority of the forest is still open for public access. Trails and trailheads remain open. Please remember to avoid congregating at trailheads and/or parking areas and refrain from gathering in groups of 10 or more.

"Dispersed camping is open throughout the forest except for two locations in the Silver Creek area," Highfill said. "We want to encourage visitors to pack out their trash, practice "Leave no Trace" land use principles, and social distance when recreating on the forest. Most of all, we are asking the public to be patient for a couple more weeks."

You can make campground reservations online

Stay up to date on Boise National Forest closures.

10:30 a.m. - Idaho Power to open more parks, boat ramps Friday

Idaho Power will reopen several parks, boat launches and day-use areas on Friday, May 15 that have been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed campgrounds in Hells Canyon and at C.J. Strike Reservoir south of Mountain Home remain closed. The company has begun a phased reopening of its recreation sites to provide public access while encouraging visitors to safely follow social distancing guidelines. Some sites will be monitored to avoid overcrowding.

Restrooms remain closed, but portable toilets have been installed at most locations. Openings could be delayed if necessary for safety reasons.

The following sites are expected to open on Friday:

• Hells Canyon area: Hells Canyon Park boat launch, Copperfield boat launch, Oxbow boat launch, Old Carter's Landing, McCormick Park boat launch, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Reservoir dispersed campsites
• C.J. Strike: North Park boat launch and day-use area, Jack's Creek boat launch and dispersed campsites
• Hagerman area: Bliss Park, Malad Fountain Park, Lower Salmon raft launch, Lower Salmon Falls Park, Lower Salmon boat launch
• Other areas: Swan Falls downstream campsites (downstream boat launch remains closed), Milner whitewater put-in, American Falls Park

Thursday, May 14

5:00 p.m. - 29 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Idaho

The state counts one additional "probable" case. Two deaths were reported in Twin Falls County, and one death was reported in Ada County, bringing the total death toll to 72. A total of 2,157 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Idaho since March 13. 1,573 patients who had the illness are now presumed to have recovered.

See more in our interactive map and timelines tracking coronavirus case numbers and trends. 

4:50 p.m. - City of Boise adopting Stage 2 of phased reopening; new public health orders issued

The orders signed Thursday afternoon by Mayor Lauren McLean require social distancing and require businesses in the city to follow the business safety protocols outlined for Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebounds plan. A number of city services will resume and many park amenities will reopen, including Quail Hollow Golf Course. Details are in the link to the city's orders.

4 p.m. - Idaho Botanical Garden to offer free admission to healthcare workers in May

The nonprofit is offering free admission to healthcare workers during the month of May.

It has also teamed up with Source Meditation and Shine Yoga to offer free mindfulness and movement classes streamed virtually from the garden.

The classes will be streamed directly through their Facebook and Instagram pages.

The classes are not being offered in-person in order to comply with social-distancing recommendations.

1:03 p.m.: Idaho on track to enter the second stage of reopening

Idaho Gov. Brad Little said that Idaho will enter the second stage on Saturday of the Idaho Rebounds plan to reopen Idaho's economy. See our full story here. 

See a clip of that announcement below:

In Stage 2 of Idaho Rebounds, restaurants can open for dine-in if they follow protocols. Gyms, hair salons and other recreational facilities can open if they follow protocols. Bars will now be allowed to reopen in stage 3, Little said. 

Employees should return to work in phases and should continue to work remotely whenever possible, Little said. 

The state is also making a supply of masks, gloves and sanitizer available for small businesses. See more in the below video.

This is a developing story, click here to see our full story on this announcement. 

To learn more on what Stage 2 will look like in Idaho, click here.

See the full video of the press conference here: 

10 a.m. - Drive-up testing for coronavirus coming to Vale, Ore. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The Malheur County COVID-19 Taskforce will offer coronavirus testing to individuals who meet certain criteria on Thursday. Testing will be available at the Wadleigh Park located at 300 Main St. South in Vale, Ore.

Individuals will qualify for testing if they have two or more COVID-19 related symptoms, like shortness of breath and a fever, or one symptom and one risk factor, such as being over the age of 60 or having a BMI over 40.

Wednesday, May 13

9:53 p.m. - In case you missed it: We take a look at what stage two of Idaho's reopening plan would look like; A key legal distinction is raising questions about what constitutes a bar and what constitutes a restaurant as Idaho approaches stage two; Health officials say a coronavirus outbreak in Weiser is linked to a family gathering; A Boise strip mall adjusts to life during a pandemic; And, health experts are warning against smoking as a way to fend off coronavirus.

5:15 p.m. - Health officials report 21 new cases of COVID-19 in Idaho

The state of Idaho and local health districts are reporting 21 new cases of COVID-19 in Idaho on Wednesday. Statewide, there are now 2,128 cases. The state is reporting an additional 196 "probable" cases. No new deaths were reported on Wednesday, keeping the statewide toll at 69. 1,557 people have recovered from the virus. Check out our interactive map and timelines for a deeper look at Idaho's coronavirus cases.

4:14 p.m. - Malheur County Fair canceled

The Malheur County Fair Board says they have made a difficult decision to cancel the 111th annual Malheur County Fair. This decision was mandated by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's banning events over 100 people through September.

The Junior Sales Committee is working to facilitate a virtual sale for the 4-H and FFA kids in Malheur County to sell their market animals.  

3:10 p.m. - Cluster of COVID-19 cases confirmed in Washington County

Southwest District Health has confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Washington County. Several of these individuals with confirmed COVID-19 are employed at Fry Foods, Inc. and are also close contacts outside of the workplace.

Southwest District Health staff is working closely with Fry Foods, Inc. The company has been and continues to be very responsive and is taking appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of the staff. 

"Fry Foods has closed their Weiser plant voluntarily. The plant will remain closed until the owners, director and Southwest District Health feel it is in the best interests of the plant's employees and the community," said Douglas Arnold Wold, Fry Foods, Inc. Human Resources Manager. 

Epidemiologists have initiated contact investigations to identify the close contacts of the individuals with confirmed COVID-19 and notify them of their potential exposure. Individuals who do not receive a call from the health district have not been named as a close contact and do not have cause for elevated concern. 

You can find out more about Idaho's COVID-19 cases in our interactive map and timelines.

12:54 p.m. - Southwest District Health explains lowering the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Canyon County

The district says "the death was removed from the count after it was identified that the individual was a resident of a different country."

12:38 - Yellowstone to begin first phase of reopening on May 18

Yellowstone National Park will reopen on a limited basis on May 18. The park has been closed to visitors since March 24, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yellowstone has outlined a three-phased plan that initially opens the South and East entrances of Wyoming and limits visitor travel to the lower loop of the park. The lower loop allows visitors to access Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb, and Grant Village.

Wyoming has lifted out-of-state travel restrictions and has requested the state's entrances open the week of May 18. Montana and Idaho continue to have out-of-state restrictions in place and the park is working closely with these states and counties to open the remaining three entrances as soon as possible.

"The park's goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover," said Superintendent Cam Sholly. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible."

• Phase 1 will begin on Monday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m. with the opening of the South and East entrances in the state of Wyoming.
• Visitors will be able to access the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road coming in and out of the South and East entrances only.
• Visitors will be able to access restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks, and other Phase 1 facilities that are prepared to open.
• The Montana entrances (North, West, and Northeast) will remain closed.  
• Commercial tour buses will not be allowed in the early phases of opening.
• Overnight accommodations will be unavailable until later in the season.
• Campgrounds, backcountry permits, visitor cabins, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, boating, fishing, and visitor centers will remain closed.
• Hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, and ranger programs will remain closed.

11 a.m. - Tamarack Resort announces phased reopening beginning May 16

Tamarack Resort has received approval from Central District Health for its phased reopening beginning on Saturday, May 16. 

The phased approach prioritizes the health and safety of employees, guests, and homeowners while resuming dining, lodging, and recreation-based activities.  

"Our team has worked hard to reimagine every aspect of the Tamarack experience to ensure the health, safety, and comfort of everyone who will come and play at Tamarack's mountain playground this summer," said Scott Turlington, Tamarack president.

Starting May 16, Tamarack will resume its dining and lodging services and will also open its meadow hiking and biking trails while encouraging appropriate social distancing. 

The Clearwater Coffee Shop and Village Market and Deli are also reopening with enhanced health and safety protocols. 

Construction on The Village at Tamarack will resume, including real estate tours of the Village residential units and the real estate gallery. 

Additional activities will resume on the following dates: 

• May 21: Scenic lift rides on Tamarack Express

• May 22: Waterfront Cabana motorized & non-motorized boat rentals 

• May 28: Lift-served mountain biking (dependent on mid-mountain snow melt) 

• June 6: Tamarack Zipline Tours (dependent on mid-mountain snow melt)

• Mid-June: Guided whitewater rafting trips on the Cabarton stretch of the North Fork of the Payette River. 

Guests are encouraged to visit TamarackIdaho.com for the latest days and hours of operations, and to pre-book excursions. 

The resort encourages all guests planning to visit Tamarack and surrounding mountain communities in Valley County to respect new protocols in place at local businesses and recreation areas – by continuing social distancing, wearing a mask in public, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home when feeling sick. 

For the most recent Idaho coronavirus updates, click here.

At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus.

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