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'Wait and see': Idaho leaders weighing decisions on what's next with the stay-at-home order

As the initial deadline for Idaho's stay-at-home order nears, leaders like Meridian Mayor Robert Simison are the weighing options.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little said on Monday that he still has not made a decision on whether to extend Idaho's stay-at-home order, which is set to expire on Wednesday. 

If he ultimately decides to let the order expire this week, what would change?  

Those questions are already being asked by leaders from around the state. Would cities suddenly be open for business? Or, could local leaders keep the stay at home order in place?

KTVB spoke with Meridian Mayor Robert Simison about what options city leaders have and what Meridian is doing. 

If it comes to the point where Gov. Little doesn’t extend the stay-at-home order, Mayor Simison says they would first start talking to the Central District Health.

“They have authority, second to the governor on this issue. We would see what they think is appropriate for Ada County, and then we'd also talk to our local communities to see where they think,” Simison explained. “We do meet regularly with other elected leaders from the Treasure Valley. I think whatever decision could be made in the Treasure Valley, we would want it to be close to what others are doing."

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No decisions have been announced, but city leaders across Idaho are working on plans regardless. Simison said in Meridian, they're simply waiting and seeing for now.

“If and when the community opens, at what rate? Is it just all restrictions are lifted or is it a more measured approach? If I was a betting person, I think that from the state level and the community level, a measured approach is likely the way that we would respond when the time is right,” Simison said.

Questions have also been asked about what local leaders are allowed to do with the stay at home orders. Simison says in short, for example, he has the ability to go all the way to a quarantine level. 

Mayor Simison says he doesn't plan on having to go that far, but mayors do have the legal ability to take local action. An encouraging sign for Simison, people seem to be keeping their social distancing and following the stay at home guidelines

“We want people to do what they think is right for our community. That's what this is all about, you know, businesses, the main decision early on to close was because they felt it was right for their employees or like the community,” he said.

Simison said the community taking it seriously makes a big difference. 

“Regardless of whatever order the governor issues or Central District Health or myself if necessary, It's all dependent on what the community is willing to do in order to protect the health and safety of one another,” he said. “For now we're just going to go with our City of Meridian motto, which is: Stay in place, give space, and cover your face.”

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At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage and the latest COVID-19 case numbers, visit our coronavirus section here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus 

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