Council orders bars and restaurants to close

by Tonia Brooks
Staff Writer | March 26, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — While there are no reported COVID-19 cases in Boundary County, the effects of the worldwide pandemic has finally made its way to the local area, specifically with the City of Bonners Ferry and Boundary County through local government response.

On Thursday, March 19, the Boundary County Board of Commissioners adopted an amended disaster emergency declaration citing a number of concerns regarding the pandemic to include the governor’s state of emergency proclamation on March 13 and in describing the threats of the public health emergency to affect the County’s ability to protect, maintain, and deliver critical services.

Boundary County’s declaration also included the following admission:

“WHEREAS, an emergency as defined by Idaho Code, Section 46-1002, is in existence in Boundary County, which local county and private resources will be taxed to control, and State and Federal assistance may be required, pursuant to Title 46, Chapter 10, Idaho Code, and other laws pertaining to disaster, emergencies and assistance…”

Following Boundary County’s declaration, on Friday, March 20, Bonners Ferry Mayor Dick Staples made a declaration. The emergency declaration is per Idaho Code Title 46, Chapter 10, specifically Idaho Code 46-1011 which states is in order to “activate the response and recovery aspects of any applicable local or intergovernmental disaster emergency plan.”

The County declaration includes the Idaho Code 46-1011 section as well.

“In practicality, a local disaster emergency declaration functions to increase liability protection for City employees and contractors responding to the COVID-19 crisis now and into the future, frees up restrictions on City purchasing processes in order to make emergency purchases to address the crisis (if needed), and makes the City eligible to have certain costs reimbursed by the federal and state governments,” said Bonners Ferry City Attorney Andrakay Pluid.

Boundary County’s declaration is in effect until April 14, unless revoked or extended.

“The mayoral proclamation is effective for seven days unless ratified and extended by the Council,” said Pluid. “The City Council will consider ratifying the declaration at the special council meeting tomorrow [Tuesday, March 24] evening.”

On March 24, during the Bonners Ferry City Council’s special meeting, council members ratified the emergency declaration and supported the mayor’s proclamation. Additionally, the council decided to pass the ordinance at this time.

The mayor’s proclamation stands to close bars and restaurants, with restaurants having the option to provide and serve take-out meals only. The new rule goes into effect Thursday, March 26, at 5 p.m.

To view the video from the Tuesday, March 24 City Council broadcasted meeting visit the City of Bonners Ferry website at bonnersferry.id.gov.