BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin urged Gov. Brad Little to reopen all businesses in Idaho by April 30 in a letter that she sent on Friday.
McGeachin said in a statement that she asked the Republican Governor to provide "greater clarity regarding when Idaho's economy will reopen, eliminating the divisive terminology of "non-essential" businesses and employees, and providing significant and much-needed tax relief to Idahoans."
On April 15, Gov. Little's first 21-day stay at home expired and he extended it through the end of April. He said without a vaccine or herd immunity, reopening the state's businesses and ending social distancing too early could cause a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the Gem State.
"Believe me, no one wants to get Idaho back to work more than me," the first-term governor said last week. "Our goal is for most businesses to open after the end of the month, but with the understanding that it may not be possible if there is an upward trend in severe COVID-19 cases in Idaho between now and then."
McGeachin said she believes all workers are essential and that Idahoans need decisive leadership on exactly when businesses can reopen.
"I agree that we need to do all that we can to protect our frontline workers, the elderly, and the vulnerable population from the COVID-19 virus and to protect our economy," she said. "These two goals do not need to be mutually exclusive."
Gov. Little's approach to handling the coronavirus and the stay at home orders has been mostly leaning on what health experts and scientists recommend is the best course of action.
Last week, Little said, "Here's what it comes down to - Idaho will be better positioned for a strong economic comeback because we are making difficult changes in how we live and work in the short-term. Science tells us that if we don't time these measures right, we could worsen the outcome for citizens' health and the economy weeks and months down the road."
In her statement, McGeachin said she has never believed in forced closures and that they are economically devastating and could force some businesses to close their doors for good.
"I will oppose requiring any businesses to remain closed beyond April 30 at the latest, and I will do all that I can to help ensure this does not occur," she continued. "Idahoans are strong and resilient, and we will overcome the hardships we are facing right now. Working together, we will triumph over these adversities and restore our state to prosperity and freedom."
Facts not fear: More on coronavirus
See our latest updates in our YouTube playlist: