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OK to walk when you want to run

| May 1, 2020 1:00 AM

It’s the first of May, which means the Idaho door to normalcy is cracked open a little more than it was back on March 25.

Gov. Brad Little’s four-phase re-opening, segmented in two-week blocks, begins with the first phase today. Key to his plan is that at any point along the way, a COVID-19 spike could create an automatic downshift in the plan’s execution as the Idaho economy tries to get back on its feet.

So what’s the big deal about Phase 1? It has some tangible benefits, but in our view, it’s more about morale and momentum than magically flipping the calendar back to the halcyon days before anyone heard of novel coronavirus.

As you may have read, places of worship, day care centers, most stores and other businesses can open today. But the green light goes only so far, and even then with adherence to established health guidelines. Still red-lighted are bars, restaurant dining rooms, indoor gyms, nightclubs, hair and nail salons, convention and entertainment centers.

Judging by the ardently expressed sentiments of many North Idahoans — ranging from extreme virus deniers to sensible folks who believe the safety precautions have gone too far in jeopardizing other major quality of life basics, like earning a living — today could erupt into waves of lawlessness. We hope it doesn’t.

For now, the responsible approach is to support our local businesses every way we possibly can, including buying gift cards at a favorite watering hole, restaurant or workout center. Meantime, we should continue the recently acquired personal habits — frequent hand washes, social distancing, disinfecting work areas — to make sure the governor’s phases can proceed with all speed.

The end is near — and we mean that in a good way. Let’s not blow it.