Teton County along with the cities of Driggs, Victor and Tetonia worked to draft and adopt an emergency declaration today, Wednesday, March 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city and county leadership who include mayors Will Frohlich, Hyrum Johnson and Gloria Hoopes and county board chair, Cindy Riegel all signed the declaration today that would allow for any additional funding from the state and or federal government as well as enact the county’s emergency response plan.

Despite the state of Idaho already declaring a state of emergency, Riegel said she that the county has emergency disaster plans that can also be implemented for pandemics like COVID-19 with such a declaration.

A statement to residents reads, “With this declaration, each and every person in our community is strongly encouraged to do their part to interrupt the spread of COVID-19. The following steps are strongly encouraged: Take social distancing seriously in any setting, indoors or outdoors, public or private. Avoid all social gatherings, or meetings of ten or more people. We are requesting restaurants and bars to close their dining rooms and offer take-out only.”

In addition to the declaration, the county and city councils will consider an emergency ordinance that would close, “theaters, bars, coffee shops, except for drive-through, or take-out service, self-serve or staff-served buffets or salad bars, unpackaged self-serve food services, all communal pools, hot tubs, locker rooms, saunas, steam rooms, fitness centers, gyms, conference rooms, and spas and museums.”

Jackson passed a similar ordinance yesterday based on one passed by Park City, Utah.

Riegel stressed in an interview with the Teton Valley News that this ordinance did not close businesses in Teton Valley, but gave guidance to local businesses to help limit human contact in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said this ordinance was really aimed toward food-service businesses to prohibit in-dining patronage and require to-go orders and touch-less service.

Many local businesses in Teton Valley have started to close as of Wednesday including the Royal Wolf in Driggs, Citizen 33 and Forage. Many food-based businesses have moved to a touch-less service today as well including Badger Creek Cafe in Tetonia and Marigold Cafe at MD Nursery, all of which are offering pay-over-the-phone business and curbside pick up.

The Tetonia City Council will hold an emergency meeting tonight, Wednesday March 18 at 7 p.m. to discuss the COVID-19 response. The City Victor will meet 9 a.m. on Thursday morning. Teton County could likely meet Thursday afternoon or Friday. Driggs has not set meeting times at the publication of this story.

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