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Hayden mayor preps residents on rebound

by JENNIFER PASSARO
Staff Writer | May 1, 2020 1:14 AM

HAYDEN — Mayor Steve Griffitts addressed residents via Facebook live Thursday, preparing them for the first phase of Gov. Brad Little’s rebound order.

Phase One begins today, as some businesses are allowed to reopen throughout the state.

“For seven weeks we have been under isolation,” Griffitts began, thanking Hayden residents for doing their part to keep the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My concern early on and it continues to be, can we economically kill 1,000 people to save 50?” Griffitts said. “It’s a hard balance to move forward with.”

But the state and the city of Hayden are moving forward, allowing most businesses deemed non-essential during the stay-at-home order to reopen. This excludes bars and nightclubs, dine-in restaurants, indoor gyms and recreation facilities, hair salons, and large venues, all of which must remain closed. Day cares, organized youth activities, camps, and places of worship may open, as long as they adhere to strict physical distancing, sanitation protocols, and any additional CDC guidance.

“Because we’ve done what needed to be done, cases are nominal,” Griffitts said. “But was it worth closing down for 62 cases? I can’t answer that. We are where we are.”

Griffitts said the city must adhere, at a minimum, to the governor’s phased re-opening order. He said that today, 90% of businesses in Hayden should open, but each owner can dictate how they want people to interact within the store.

Each of the governor’s four phases will last two weeks, giving epidemiologists the ability to determine whether the less restrictive guidelines are leading to a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

Restaurant owners are encouraged to reach out to Panhandle Health District to begin planning for phase two of the rebound order, when they are allowed to reopen their dining rooms with approval from the health district, Griffitts said. This phase is set to begin May 16.

“From an enforcement standpoint I hope we won’t have to enforce anything,” the mayor said. “We want people to do what needs to be done.”

Employers are encouraged to gradually bring employees back into the workplace, according to the rebound plan. Griffitts asked employers to remember that most workers are scrambling to find child care as schools remain closed. He encouraged residents who are having difficulty finding child care to call the Kroc Center.

Griffitts also encouraged residents to be kind to one another as daily life adjusts in the following weeks.

“I believe people are going to be reluctant to come out,” Griffitts said. “We’ve been waiting so long to get things back to normal, but I don’t know what normal is going to look like.”