BOISE, Idaho — On Saturday, Idaho will move to stage 3 of its reopening plan, Gov. Brad Little announced on Thursday. That means bars, pools and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen across the state.
Gatherings of up to 50 people will also be allowed.
Businesses are urged to follow certain protocols pertaining to social distancing the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks.
At his news conference on Thursday, Little credited Idahoans with limiting the spread of the virus.
"The one and only reason we are able to progress through stages of reopening is because the people of Idaho individually and collectively have taken personal responsibility in slowing the spread of this new disease," he said.
The governor, who walked to the podium wearing a facemask, added that Idahoans can continue to protect themselves and others by simply wearing a mask when unable to socially distance themselves from others - like at grocery or retail stores.
He admitted that he initially thought the idea was silly.
"I'll plead guilty, I was one of those people when I traveled and people were wearing masks I thought well there's a paranoid soul, but as we learn more about [it] this coronavirus is different," he said. "The infection rate, the transmission rate, all of those things basically beg for this kind of practice. So wearing a mask is just the right thing to do."
Dr. Jim Souza, one of the co-chairs of the state's coronavirus testing task force told KTVB last week that if everyone were to wear masks when needed, COVID-19 would become a non-issue.
Little echoed Souza on Thursday, citing a Stanford University study and saying that if everyone wore masks, "80% of the spread of coronavirus would go away."
The governor noted that if you are outside and appropriately distanced from others, there is no need to wear a mask.
When it comes to wearing a mask, there are certain things to keep in mind. First, make sure that it fits snugly with no gaps. Avoid touching the mask when it is on, and when it's time to remove it, use the ear loops.
When done with the mask, either throw it away or put it in the washing machine so it's clean and ready for the next use.
Once the mask is off, wash your hands as soon as possible before you touch your face.
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