March 27, 2020 (Moscow, Idaho) -- On Wednesday, March 25, Idaho Governor Brad Little issued a proclamation declaring an "extreme emergency" in the State as communities take measures to prevent the community spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus). That afternoon, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppeson issued an Order to Self-Isolate for the State. That Order may be viewed at the following web address: https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/127/2020/03/statewide-stay-home-order_032520.pdf
In the Order, Director Jeppeson noted that a violation could constitute a misdemeanor under Idaho Code Section 56-1003(7)(c), and he requested that Sheriffs, Chiefs of Police, and the Idaho State Police ensure compliance with the Order.
The stated intent of the Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. Individuals are authorized to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life.
This authorization is noted as "only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, or to operate Essential Businesses," all as defined in the Order. The Order expressly states that "All travel is prohibited, except Essential Travel and Essential Activities as defined in the Order. Lastly, "Essential Activities" and "Essential Businesses" are defined in the Order. There is no requirement in the Order from the Governor or in any City Order that requires documentation or work cards for moving about the community for essential services or essential activities.
According to James Fry, Moscow's Chief of Police, "Our officers will not stop people to ask them their business to confirm that they are complying with the State's Self-Isolation Order. If contact is made with a person for another reason, our officers will remind them that there is a Self-Isolation Order, and request that they limit their travel in accordance with the Order."
"This is a difficult time for our community, and law enforcement does not want to add to that stress," said Fry. "We encourage members of the public to read the Self-Isolation Order and to limit their activities to those allowed by the Order. Please do the right thing. If we all work together, we can limit the community spread of COVID-19 in our region. We want to reduce the risk of exposure to the public and our officers."
"The City of Moscow has employed the concept of Community Policing for decades, and the Moscow Police Department will continue that policy now and into the future, including during the COVID-19 threat", continues Fry. "Community Policing focuses on ensuring compliance with our laws first through education. Enforcement is utilized in situations when education does result in compliance."
"Essential Businesses" includes twenty-nine categories of businesses which are outlined beginning on page seven of the Order.
"Essential Activities" include:
- performing tasks for health and safety (including medical visits, procuring medication, and/or obtaining supplies to work from home),
- to obtain necessary services or supplies to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences (including food, livestock or pet supplies, and household consumer products),
- to engage in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, bicycling or running,
- to perform work in an "Essential Business" as defined in the Order,
- To work for healthcare facilities and services (such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, dental facilities, mental health providers and home healthcare services), and
- to perform work necessary to "Essential Infrastructure" as defined in the Order,
- to perform "Essential Government Functions" (such as police, fire, emergency medical services, dispatching, court personnel, and support services for those functions)
"Essential Travel" includes:
- travel related to "Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses,
- travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons,
- travel to and from educational institutions for purposes of distance learning, receiving meals or other related services,
- travel to or from a residence from outside of Idaho,
- travel ordered by law enforcement or the courts,
- travel for non-residents to return to their out-of-state residence.
Please remember, this Stay-at-Home Order is in place to protect us all. Let's do our part and stay home to the extent we can.
Story Contact: James Fry, Chief of Police