Time for some baby steps in our reopening plan. City Council met today (yes, they were working on a Saturday!) in a special council meeting to discuss the current Ketchum amendments to the state isolation order. Council voted to keep most of the restrictions in place and lift restrictions on construction activities starting Monday, April 20. CLICK HERE to see the adopted Ketchum Health Order and CLICK HERE for current State Isolation Order. We do expect the state-isolation order to be extended until the end of April, in line with Federal guidelines.
On April 20, construction is permitted to resume - subject to strict activity standards. We will have a special council meeting on Friday, April 17. This will give us a chance to check the latest health data and see if there has been any material change that could affect our decision. In order for construction activities to resume, contractors must agree to the newly adopted Construction Activity Standards contained in our health order. By setting a clear date for resumption, we are giving the contractors time to prepare to operate under the new standards.
Close monitoring manages the risk. We will be closely observing what is happening in the construction industry and will be continually monitoring the health statistics to see if there is material change in infection risk. We always have the ability to shut it down if there is a spike in positive testing. This first step is the least impactful re-entry as we start to find our feet again.
Policies that discourage visitors remain in place. In addition to the State Isolation Order that restricts non-essential businesses, Council chose to restrict businesses involved in the tourist industry. Hotels and short-term rentals are not permitted to open up unless to provide accommodation for health care workers. In addition, non-essential travel into Blaine County is not permitted. Travel into the county is not permitted for recreation.
Balancing our physical, mental and economic health. In our decision-making, we have to balance the effect of the order on the physical health of our community along with the mental strain and economic hardship that is caused. Continually monitoring all three aspects helps us make good policy decisions. Of course, there is never going to be perfect data or information on all of these items, but we do our best to find the right balance.
Health data is encouraging, but social distancing must remain in place. The medical trend is positive and the volume of new COVID-19 cases in Blaine County is going down. The medical facilities can handle the current patient loads. On a daily basis, only a handful of people are now coming in to get tested. This is a reduction from the highs of above 100 per day. There is always a chance of second wave, or another spike, so please keep up the good work you are doing in keeping your distance. Face coverings in public places are encouraged.
Small Town, Baby Steps.