Blog - Kevin Bidwell

3-25-2020 - Stay at Home Order Issued

A day that many believed would never come to Idaho, has. Shortly after the number of cases of the novel coronavirus doubled in Idaho overnight, Governor Brad Little declared an "Extreme" State of Emergency and issued a "Stay at Home" order. Details of the order, including restrictions and penalties are not yet forthcoming. At the very least the Governor made it clear that all non-essential businesses much close, including gyms, theatres, and retail stores.

Little was unclear about specific penalties that could be leveraged against individuals who ignore the order, only going so far as to say "If you go for a walk outside and are standing five and a half feet apart, I don't think you'll be arrested." 

Not exactly comforting words.


3-21-2020 - Day 2 Boise Closed

The second day of business restrictions in Boise leaves an even stronger taste of despair in the air. Streets are nearly complete empty, almost every business is closed, and the few people on the streets seem as if walking around an abandoned city.

During the morning I was able to find a single coffee shop open, serving "to-go" orders only. As I traced the city streets with my hand-warming coffee, I realize how many of these business I've come to know and love over the years. From Flying-M coffee and The Record Exchange, to the Red Feather Lounge and All About Games. If not directly effected by the current restrictions put in place, then by proxy. With no where to eat or drink and the air ripe with fear, almost every business has closed to due lack of customers.

Through an hour of wandering Boise's empty streets, I only found two businesses open. Two, out of hundreds. I feel for the business owners who could never have predicted or prepared for something like this. I feel for the employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck, who must now make hard choices. Most of all I feel for US. We as a community have let fear and uncertainty change who we are.



3-20-2020 - Boise Restaurants Close

Well, the pandemic that is fear has finally hit Idaho. While most cities and counties have remained calm and focused on science, Boise mayor Lauren McLean broke the mold as of Friday morning. Closing restaurants and bars within Boise city limits for 30 days, the mayor must believe that the 2 COVID-19 cases in the county must justify the closure. 

And that's what a lot of the current events really bring to light. How much are people willing to sacrifice out of fear? Most restaurants cannot stay in business if they are forced to close for 30 days, there just isn't that much margin in food service anymore. Even in a rather small area such as Boise, this could mean dozens of closed businesses, hundreds out of work, and a major hit to our local economy.

Managing risk, however, is one of the primary duties of any mayor, governor, or president. From war, to budgets, to roads public services. However the current "pandemic" seems to have left far too many without their facilities, or ability to think rationally.

Everyone manages their own risk every day. There is risk in driving a car, cooking a turkey, investing, or golfing in a rain storm. Everyone has the ability to judge the right amount of risk for them, and act accordingly. Government officials don't need to "nanny" their constituents. They should promote knowledge and community spirit, not fear and paranoia.