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Nampa Mayor Tells Businesses Follow COVID-19 Guidelines But Says There Will Be Little Enforcement

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Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling says the city won't shut down businesses that violate Idaho's COVID-19 restrictions, though she urges businesses to follow guidelines. She says the city doesn't have the resources to enforce the rule.

Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said the city is urging businesses to follow the guidelines of Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s phased reopening of the state. But she also said the city won’t prioritize enforcement of the rules.

In Little’s four-phase plan certain organizations, like churches, can open early on with strict social distancing rules. But businesses like bars must wait until the last phase, estimated to be in mid-June.

Kling said the city doesn’t have the resources to police every business and will focus on education about the importance of taking steps to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

“Don't open until the stay home order ends April 30 and [businesses] need to follow the governor's guidelines,” Kling said. She also warned that any business with a state license could be jeopardizing that license by opening in violation of the governor’s order.

But, she also said businesses who don’t follow those rules should keep patrons six feet away from each other and make sure to disinfect surfaces.

“We are not going to go in and shut them down,” she said. “But what we are going to do is ensure that they are following the health safety guidelines.”

One Nampa bar, Slick’s, has said they will open in defiance of Little’s order and seemed to take Kling’s statement of non-enforcement as a green light.

To their critics, the bar wrote, “We truly do not care if you disagree …The truth is no one knows if how we are dealing with this is right or wrong.”

Public health experts disagree, saying that continued social distancing and hygiene are key to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately getting through the pandemic.

Kling said in a statement that “as a last resort, officers who find businesses or citizens in violation and blatantly and unapologetically violating the health district directives may, if necessary, issue a citation.”


Follow Heath Druzin on Twitter, @HDruzin

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