Last week, Blaine County Commissioners voted 2-1 on an ordinance to add local restrictions on top of the statewide stay-at-home order to further promote social distancing.
The new rules say residents can't travel outside the county for nonessential purposes and can't leave to purchase items they could find in the county; hotels and short-term rentals can’t offer lodging to non-residents, unless the guests are self-isolating or if they're healthcare workers; people returning to Blaine County from out of state, whether residents or visitors, must self-quarantine for 14 days; and the construction, landscaping and plumbing industries are nonessential, unless tasks need to be completed for public safety.
"There's just absolutely no way you can get social separation, social distancing at the job site," Chairman Jacob Greenberg said.
Construction, landscaping and plumbing are "essential" according to the state order, but Blaine County said when the two orders are in conflict, the more stringent rule applies.
Commissioner Angenie McCleary voted against the stricter amendments because they mean more county residents will not be working.
“My real concern is that people are going to be out of work, perhaps unnecessarily, in a time period where it’s absolutely vital that people are getting their paychecks," McCleary said, citing mental health and other health issues that can arise when people don't receive paychecks.
Greenberg said practicing social distancing is more important, though, as the cases in the county keep climbing.
“When we get to the top and we start dropping down a bit, we can take our foot off the pedal then," Greenberg said, "but we need to allow the data, and not emotions, guide our decisions at this point."
Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves said the ordinance largely won't be strictly enforced.
"I think it's more important for messaging and the message clearly being: Stay at home, for the time being," Graves said during the county meeting last week.
Of the five cities in Blaine County, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue have all adopted the ordinance, and Sun Valley plans on doing so this week. It's unclear whether Carey will consider the new rules, and the city did not respond to a request for comment.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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