University of Idaho Extension Educator Sarah Baker told Custer County commissioners that people are welcome back in her Challis office after a long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, they must follow new rules.

“People will have to wear a mask in the office,” Baker said. “If it’s a university-sponsored event, you have to wear a mask.”

Along with face coverings, Baker said she will enforce all of the university’s health and safety guidelines created in response to the virus. Baker said it will be difficult to apply the standards in Custer County. They were designed for the university’s tightly-packed campus, she said, and don’t necessarily fit a large, rural county.

If she doesn’t enforce the standards, all of the functions and classes she has planned this winter, like beef cutting demonstrations, will be done online. This isn’t a practical option either, Baker said, asking rhetorically how she’s supposed to teach someone to cut meat if they’re unable to handle it.

“It’s been a challenge for sure,” Baker said. “We’re trying to work through it.”

Baker shared final details about the 2020 county fair with commissioners.

“Boy howdy, they spent money,” Baker said of buyers. Baker reported the market animal sale netted $227,000, compared to $170,000 last year. Baker chalked it up to effort put in by FFA and 4-H participants. Youths spent the weeks leading up to the fair out and about, letting people know about it and getting buyers committed to the sale.

The biggest blessing for Baker personally, she said, is the fact that zero coronavirus cases were tracked back to the fair. No one got sick because both spectators and participants behaved themselves, according to Baker.

“Overall, it was a lot better than I expected,” Baker said.