Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – April 9, 2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.

To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.

Statewide COVID-related updates

Regional COVID-19-related updates
Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern Idaho
Eastern Idaho

Statewide COVID-19-related updates

In the past four weeks, much has happened. On March 13, Gov. Brad Little declared as state of emergency for the state of Idaho due the coronavirus, and on March 25, he issued a Stay-Home Order as community spread of COVID-19 in Idaho was confirmed.

In the past three weeks, unemployment has hit Idahoans and Americans at unprecedented rates:

  • Effects of the coronavirus and efforts to contain it have continued to affect claims, labor force and industry job statistics.
  • 6.6 million initial unemployment benefit claims were filed in the U.S. for the week April 4. Combined with the millions of claims filed over the previous two weeks, roughly 17 million have filed for unemployment due to the effects of the coronavirus.
  • Idaho reported 30,904 initial claims for the week ending April 4 for a total of 77,430 claims since Gov. Little declared a state of emergency on March 13.
  • The numbers of claims decreased slightly from last week, which saw the largest number of new claims on historical record for Idaho. Despite this decrease the number of claims remains elevated far above normal levels.
  • People filing for unemployment insurance are receiving benefits. Benefit payouts reached $5.6 million for the week ending March 28, 86 percent higher than the week ending March 21, and 178 percent higher than one year ago that same week.
  • The numbers of claims filed are the largest on historical record for both Idaho and the nation.

March Employment Figures

National employment figures for March released April 3 showed that the effects of the Coronavirus on the labor market:

  • Nonfarm payrolls across the nation dropped by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate climbed to 4.4 percent, up 0.9 percentage points from February’s rate.
  • Idaho’s figures will not be ready for release until Friday, April 17, and likely will begin to show its part in the effects created by the pandemic.

Statewide Resource

Idaho Community Foundation announced the creation of a statewide COVID Response and Recovery Fund for Idaho in partnership with United Way and the Idaho Nonprofit Center. The purpose of the fund is to assist low-income Idahoans impacted by COVID-19 remain financially stable. The fund will support immediate human needs not covered by government programs, assistance or other traditional relief programs. Priority will be given to Idaho communities and programs serving populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. For more information and to apply, go to:

Idaho Department of Labor 

Regional COVID-19-related updates

Northern Idaho – Week ending April 10

  • Northern Idaho had 2,877 initial unemployment claims in the week ending on April 4. This marks a 23 percent decrease over the prior week, although this number is still elevated over 1,000 percent above normal levels. Northern Idaho has now had 8,072 new unemployment claims over the past three weeks, after averaging fewer than 200 per week in recent months. Roughly 69 percent of these claims have been in Kootenai County. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • Total COVID-19 cases are up to 45 in Northern Idaho, with 42 in Kootenai County and three in Bonner County. No cases have been reported in Benewah, Boundary , or Shoshone counties. While hospitalizations have been reported no deaths have occurred in the region. Source: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Northern Idaho – Week ending April 3

  • Initial unemployment claims rose 146 percent in the final week of March, after rising 845 percent the previous week. Claims rose from only 157 the week ending March 14, to 1,483 the week ending March 21, to 3,646 the week ending March 28. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • The Coeur Group, a volunteer group of professionals in Kootenai County, is providing a variety of services to affected residents through their COVID-19 task force. Services include running errands for health-compromised individuals who cannot go out in public and providing financial assistance to households struggling to meet basic expenses. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Coeur d’Alene Pediatrics has converted its Hayden location into a drive-thru clinic. Providers will continue to see children for routine illnesses in addition to providing COVID-19 testing. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Percussionaire, a Sandpoint manufacturer, has received clearance from the Federal Drug Administration to produce and distribute a new compact ventilator. While Percussionaire produces other ventilator models — and is ramping up production — the new TXP5 model is compact and designed to prevent ventilator-induced lung injury, which occurs when too much air is forced into a diseased lung. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451

North Central Idaho – Week ending April 10

North Central Idaho residents filed a record number of unemployment insurance claims in the three weeks starting March 15 and ending April 4, as the table below shows. In the past two weeks, roughly 10 times as many filed claims than were filed prior to the onslaught of the coronavirus economic crisis.

  • The two sectors hit the hardest by the coronavirus crisis are the retail and wholesale industries, and leisure and hospitality industries. The 349 retail and wholesale operations in north central Idaho, deemed nonessential, employed 3,741 people in 2019 and had a payroll of $10.9 million a month. In 2019, 376 leisure and hospitality businesses — including recreation facilities, restaurants, bars and lodging — employed 4,973 people in 2019 and had a monthly payroll of $5.8 million a month. Most of them are shut down or only offering take-out or other limited services. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • Coronavirus has stopped the flow of cruise boats travelling the Columbia and Snake rivers from Portland to Clarkston. The season normally starts at the beginning of April. Passengers rose from 31,168 in 2017 to 78,166 in 2019, and the port expected to see further increases in 2020. The passengers spend a great deal of money on hotels, meals, jet boat excursions, local wineries and the Nez Perce Tribe’s casino. Source: Port of Clarkston
  • Most of the dozen boat builders in the “jet boat capital of the world” — the Lewis-Clark Valley — and SJX Boats in Orofino saw a sharp drop in orders in late March. The fall of the stock market, which will likely reduce spending on high-end recreational items, and the economic downturn could greatly reduce demand this year, and this led to layoffs. The financial collapse in 2008 nearly halved their employment 12 years ago. Together, boat builders employed about 250 people in 2019, and SJX Boats and a couple of Clarkston operations planned to expand this year. Sources: Reports from economic developers and business consultants
  • Hospitals are increasing spending on personal protective equipment and other supplies as they prepare for the apex of the virus, while the virus has forced them to discontinue their most lucrative services — elective procedures and other outpatient services. St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood closed its clinics in Grangeville, Kamiah and Nezperce on April 3. A statement issued by the hospital said, “These closures will allow us to better focus our critical resources, as well as decrease the risk of staff and patient exposure by limiting locations of activity.” Local hospitals see some relief on the horizon. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes $100 billion to provide assistance to hospitals and other health care providers to deal with a surge in patients. Sources: Idaho County Free Press; New York Times; Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Hospitals, especially those in rural communities, have expanded their telemedicine options. St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino implemented a telemedicine virtual clinic using a Zoom videoconferencing platform that is HIPAA compliant in early April. Due to the pandemic, Medicare changed some of the restrictions on telemedicine making it a covered benefit for all beneficiaries. Medicaid in Idaho followed suit, as did most private insurers in the region. An administrator for the two rural hospitals told the Idaho County Free Press, “The real benefit for telemedicine at this time is allowing you to stay home and avoid physical contact with others as we are trying to prevent community spread of COVID-19.” Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Before the coronavirus, the University of Idaho in Moscow and Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston already were struggling to overcome budget shortfalls. Now, the presidents of Idaho’s higher education institutions are worried it may cause a decline in enrollments in the school year that begins in late August. An update to the Idaho State Board of Education on April 6 cited research shows students may decide to stay closer to home or not enroll for classes during the fall semester because there are uncertainties about what kind of restrictions, if any, will remain in place. “We had finalized our budgets here at the University of Idaho for the next fiscal year and had taken $22 million out already, which would have effectively balanced our budget for the coming year, if not for COVID,” President Scott Green said. Source: Idaho Education News; Lewiston Tribune
  • Nonprofits throughout the region are struggling to meet the rising need for their assistance, while their resources are shrinking. Food banks, trying to feed nearly twice as many people as they did before the pandemic, are competing for limited supplies and increasing prices for foodstuffs, toilet paper and other necessities. The shutdown of nonessential businesses forced thrift stores to close, sharply cutting revenues for many nonprofits. That also reduces job opportunities and workforce training for people with disabilities and other clients of nonprofits. Furthermore, the fall in the stock market and the economic downturn will probably greatly reduce donations this year. Sources: Moscow-Pullman Daily News; Clearwater Tribune; Idaho County Free Press;
  • To protect the public health, the Forest Service — which owns 82 percent of Idaho County, 51 percent of Clearwater County and 16 percent of Latah County — closed all campgrounds, trailheads and developed sites w to the public until further notice. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Air traffic plummeted in early March and continued to fall afterward. The director of the regional airport in Lewiston reported to the Idaho Business Review, “Lewiston is suffering the same COVID-19 effect as most every commercial airport in the US, which is a 95-99 percent drop in passengers. Delta still operated LWS-(Salt Lake City) daily but reduced the frequency to once per day. Their schedule can change with little notice, so it’s not published on the website.” Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The pandemic’s effects on interstate traffic and then stay-at-home orders curtailed travel on the region’s roads in recent weeks. Average daily traffic on U.S. 95 fell 39 percent from 10,400 in the week of March 6 to 6,400 in the week of April 2. In Idaho County, average daily traffic fell from 1,700 to 700. Source: Idaho Business Review

North Central Idaho – Week ending April 3

  • The threat of coronavirus forced the University of Idaho to switch to online coursework March 23. Thousands of students remained in their hometowns after spring break ended as university officials encouraged students to stay home. U of I also cancelled all conferences and meetings, including parents’ weekend and commencement. University-related events are the primary drivers of local tourism activity. Students are among the most active consumers in Moscow, and local restaurants, retail stores and service operations have experienced large drops in revenue and employment. The closure of Washington State University — whose students often shop, play or live in Moscow — further reduced retail and service activity in Moscow. New St. Andrews College, a small Christian liberal arts college in downtown Moscow, also moved to online instruction in late March as did Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston.  Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Lewiston’s Clearwater Paper facility, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of toilet paper, has found its products in high demand because of coronavirus stockpiling. The economic downturn also will increase demand for its products, as consumers switch from expensive name-brand products to the store-brand products the facility makes. One way the company has motivated its employees to work hard to meet demand is by offering them a bonus — 36 rolls of toilet paper each and up to 24 rolls of paper towels. The Lewiston facility employs 1,300 people. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Other products many Americans have stockpiled were guns and ammunition. That’s created a surge in activity at Vista Outdoor’s ammunition plants in Lewiston, where more than 1,000 people work. It also is buoying another Lewiston ammo maker, Howell Munitions, as well as gun-related gun stores and manufacturers including Nightforce Optics in Orofino and Seekins Precision in Lewiston.
  • Idaho Sewing for Sports — a Grangeville firm that makes padding for sports including chairlift seats, zip line and snow tube covers — began producing surgical masks and gowns in late March to ensure local medical staff are protected. The company currently employs 20 people, but may add workers to meet the needs of hospitals. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Area food banks are struggling to provide food to the huge increase in people seeking their help, and they expect demand to grow in the next few weeks. Stockpiling has complicated their ability to stock their shelves. Sources; Moscow-Pullman Daily News; Idaho County Free Press; Lewiston Tribune
  • The coronavirus crisis has intensified some of the ongoing problems in rural communities. A majority of Riggins’ emergency medical technicians are under self-quarantine after exposure to a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19. That highlights the challenges of many rural communities that rely on volunteers to provide EMT services and firefighting. As communities have aged, the need for services has grown, but the number of younger adults to provide those services has shrunk. Source: Idaho County Free Press


  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses in Idaho and Clearwater counties suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 17., regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

Southwestern Idaho – Week ending April 10

  • Initial unemployment claims in the region decreased 24 percent in first week of April after rising 89 percent the previous week. Claims dropped to 7,325 the week ending April 4 after increasing to 9,590 the week ending March 28, a record high.
  • With a total of 16,915 initial claims over the past two weeks, roughly 3 percent of the adult population in southwestern Idaho has filed for unemployment since March 22.
  • Seventy-one percent of the unemployment claims in southwestern Idaho have come from Ada County, although the county accounts for only 60 percent of the adult population in the region.
  • Data for Ada and Canyon counties indicates that the number of men and women filing initial claims is about evenly split. Adams and Boise report more men than women and the remaining six counties report more women have filed. The majority of the claimants range in age from 25 to 34.
  • The two sectors hit the hardest are accommodations and food services, and health care and social assistance as nearly 30 percent of the initial claims filed last week were in these two industries. Most restaurants in the region have reduced staff and hours to the accommodate drive-thru or take-out per the governor’s recommendations. Although hospitals are extremely busy, many other medical facilities have temporarily closed such as dentist offices, have reduced staff or are using telehealth.

Source: Idaho Department of Labor

 Job/Industry Information

  • Some grocery stores are limiting the number of customers that can be in the store at one time. The number is based on the size of the store. Area stores affected are Walmart, Fred Meyer and Costco.
  • Construction projects continue in the region. These include road, commercial building and housing units. The number of workers at a project may be limited due to social distancing. For example, only electricians may working at one time, followed by plumbers, etc.
  • Real estate sales continue in the region. Most of the sales are conducted virtually.
  • The U.S. Postal Service has immediate temporary jobs available.
  • WinCo Foods, Walmart and Fred Meyer are hiring. Visit a local store or apply online., senior economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 332-3570 ext. 2330

South Central Idaho – Week ending April 10

The number of initial new claims for unemployment insurance spiraled throughout the state and nation. The following table provides the number of claims and industries with the greatest share of claims by county for weeks ending March 21, March 28 and April 4.

Claims are heavily weighted to the female worker in the counties with claims driven by health care and social assistance along with accommodations and food service — all traditionally staffed by a greater percentage of women. Each county has a hospital except for Camas and Lincoln counties, which have clinics. Source: Idaho Department of Labor

Blaine County

  • A clinical study is seeking 400 Blaine County residents to participate in antibody testing for COVID-19. This study compares the sample against those already tested positive for COVID-19. This will enable researchers to see the prevalence of individuals who have recovered or were possibly asymptomatic by the presence of antibodies. The study is a collaboration between Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New York and Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The recently constructed Mountain Humane animal shelter and educational center has been ensuring that all but a handful of its cats and dogs are in temporary foster care making it easier for staff to quarantine as required. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The Sun Valley Wellness Festival and Conference has been postponed from May to Aug. 21-24, 2020, due to the COVID-19 shutdown. The festival has been able to retain its keynote speaker and other national experts. Source:
  • Sun Valley Economic Development has been pulling together video conference calls, allowing industry leaders to collaborate and share challenges. The first week featured food and drinking establishments and the second week was construction. Staff is deciphering complex legislation and attempting to find answers to common questions. Source: SVED

Twin Falls County

  • Twin Falls Sandwich Company and Koto Brewing have opted not to provide pick-up or delivery services of menu items any longer due to the decreased revenue stream. The brewery will distribute its product in cans to grocery stores and convenience stores. Source: Times-News
  • The McDonald’s franchise owned by the Kyle family with restaurants in Twin Falls, Jerome, Buhl, Gooding, Hailey and Mountain Home are offering a free combo meal to first responders as a thank you for their efforts during the pandemic. Source: KMVT News
  • Chobani, Clif Bar and Glanbia have been major donors to food banks and school districts in the Magic Valley and beyond. The school district sends weekend backpacks to students’ homes with some of the protein-rich offerings from these yogurt, energy bar and cheese manufacturers. The Bishop’s Store in Twin Falls has also donated to the school district, filling in the gaps. Recipients from these major food processors include the senior centers and its Meals on Wheels programs, Girls and Boys Clubs, Idaho Food Bank, local food banks, health care workers and first responders. Source: Times-News
  • The Rob Green Nissan and Hyundai dealership in Twin Falls is offering free grocery shopping and delivery service to those isolating and unable to shop. The service is offered during the weekdays and the staff is gloved and masked for protection all round. Source: KMVT News


COVID-19 outreach information translated into Spanish is being distributed throughout the dairy community. There was confusion initially as the workers believed there was a certification they had to obtain from the state to be considered essential business workforce. Mario de Haro-Marti, University of Idaho Extension dairy livestock and environmental educator, along with South Dakota State University and other educators with the food science department and veterinary science department at the University of Idaho, were motivated by the lack of information for these workers. It led to the creation of a COVID-19 video and fact sheets tailored to dairy workers. The video, which is in Spanish with English subtitles, explains the origins of the virus, how it spreads and how to practice proper hygiene. Source: Times-News

The change of consumer behavior to eating at home instead of restaurants, reduced hotel stays, closure of colleges and company cafeterias that rely on food service distribution and lessened demand on school district cafeterias has led to a glut of milk for dairies in Idaho, the majority of which are in the Magic Valley. The need to milk three times daily combined with the dairy product manufacturers facing reduced demand for food service products has led to some dairies dumping milk. There is not a market when this one part of the distribution dissolves suddenly. For a shift to a different market segment, equipment and packaging materials would need to be purchased and set up, which is expensive. The isolation orders may be lifted by the time the choice of equipment was determined and the order placed. The milk is normally processed into anything from cheese, protein powders, milk powder, yogurt, butter, cream and whey products. There is only three percent of the milk that is pasteurized for drinking milk and there is little capacity for pasteurization — thus the milk is dumped. It is hoped that this milk can be purchased by the federal government and given out through the USDA commodity program to food banks and those in need. This is a traditional government response to sudden needs by households to lessen both food insecurity and lessen the blow to the agricultural community when there is a production imbalance. Source: Times-News

South Central Idaho – Week ending April 3


Several south central Idaho companies are contributing to community efforts during the pandemic including:

  • Seastrom Manufacturing is hiring for about 10 entry-level position in its production of more than 15 parts contributing to medical devices. Source: Times-News and Seastrom
  • Everett Mattresses has converted part of its production to creating masks using fabric from the top panel of the mattress, donating the masks to those in need. Source: KMVT News
  • Abracadabra is taking appointments for shoppers to purchase food service products, allowing five shoppers at a time into the restaurant. Items are varied and the full list is posted on Facebook at Abracadabra Twin Falls. Source: Times-News and company FB page.

Manufacturers are generally continuing to hire workers throughout the Magic Valley. Some exceptions are food processors that distribute mostly through food service companies. This distribution is generally part of restaurants, institutional or residential living supply chains. Many of these institutions such as schools and jails are reducing populations to keep the virus from spreading. Source: Idaho Press and HR company professionals


  • Because church services typically bring many people together in one space with mingling that could exacerbate the coronavirus contagion, many pastors are reaching out to its members through Zoom or other platforms that are easy for members to access. Meetings of service groups are also moving toward this platform. Source: Times-News
  • Mustard Seed has closed its thrift store but continues to provide food boxes to families. Before the pandemic families could pick up food boxes every 60 days — the frequency has been moved to a food box every 30 days with larger options for those families with children home all day. Source: KMVT News
  •  Sun Valley Economic Development has summarized the recent federal legislation impacting both residents and businesses, which can be found on its website or by contacting the organization directly. The organization is also spreading the word about how to contribute personal protection equipment and where. Sign up for the group’s newsletter and news releases at  Source: Sun Valley Economic Development newsletters


  • Blaine County School District is still determining how to proceed with the remainder of the school year. All other school districts in the area have moved to distance learning using chrome books, individualized video conferences between teacher/student and providing technology such as hot spots or parking lot access to Wi-Fi for those without internet connectivity. Hot lunch programs are providing breakfast, lunches and snacks for pick-up with some delivery by school buses. Source: Department of Education, Times-News and KMVT News
  • A College of Southern Idaho instructor and a lab assistant are creating 60 masks daily on 12 3D printers for use by first responders and health care professionals in the Magic Valley. Source: KMVT News, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext 3639

Southeastern Idaho – Week ending April 10

Job/Industry Information

  • The threat of the coronavirus pandemic has forced Hobby Lobby to close its stores until further notice including its store at the Pine Ridge Mall in Chubbuck. The Oklahoma City-based company said in a statement that it was furloughing all of its store employees and many of its corporate and distribution workers. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Brady’s Plant Ranch in Downey is seeing surge in beef deliveries amid coronavirus pandemic. The ranch herd has about 120 cattle, with 65 cows. Its beef, which is processed at an area USDA facility, is considered a gourmet product with premium prices. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The United States Postal Service is hiring after seeing an enormous surge in parcel volume in recent weeks. Many jobs are waiting to be filled, including temporary and jobs that lead to long-term careers. Source: East Idaho News

Avenues for Disaster Assistance and Relief

  • Idaho State University is providing personal protective equipment for medical professionals during COVID-19. The Idaho Museum of Natural History on the university campus in Pocatello, is using 12 of the campus’s 3D printers to make facemasks, face shields and other personal protective equipment for area hospitals. They started experimenting with designs about two weeks ago. It eventually evolved into a collaborative effort among ISU, Bingham Memorial Hospital and Portneuf Medical Center. Face masks are being produced at a rate of about 50 a day. Source: Idaho State Journal

Southeastern Idaho – Week ending April 3

Job/Industry Information

  • Several local school districts and businesses have announced temporary closures amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25, the largest in the region, announced school closures from March 17, to at least April 20.
  • While Idaho State University campus locations remain open, the university plans to deliver all spring 2020 courses through distance-based instruction. In addition, the university is canceling or postponing all events, including commencement and graduation-related activities, at all of campus locations, through May 15.
  • Gymnasiums, hot springs, restaurants and hotels have been largely impacted by multiple closure or reduced hours. The leisure and hospitality industry accounts for about 9 percent of total covered employment in the region.
  • While several businesses are experiencing closures and reduced staffing, others are ramping up amidst the crises. Local grocery stores are looking to hire more workers to accommodate increased demand; Hux Customs, a Chubbuck gun shop, is experiencing higher-than-usual sales volume due to consumer fears over the coronavirus.

For an updated look at who is hiring:

Avenues for Disaster Assistance and Relief 

  • Lava Hotel and Spa in Lava Hot Springs, which is about 70 miles north of Logan, Utah, is helping truckers during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free rooms at the hotel.
  • Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 Grab-and-go meal service – providing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch sacks for anyone age 18 and younger. Meals will be available Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following park locations: Alameda, Bicentennial, Caldwell, Hawthorne, OK Ward, Raymond, Lower Ross, and Stuart. Source: Post Register, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

Eastern Idaho – Week ending April 10

Job/Industry Information

  • The region saw more closures of recreational facilities this week due to the pandemic including the Sharkey Hot Springs recreation area which is about 20 miles southeast of Salmon, and the Gold Bug Hot Springs. Source: Challis Messenger
  • The United States Postal Service is hiring after seeing an enormous surge in parcel volume in recent weeks. Many jobs are waiting to be filled, including temporary and jobs that lead to long-term careers. Source: East Idaho News
  • Victor City Council passed ordinances forbidding non-essential reservations in hotels and vacation rentals, and further restricting travel from areas outside of eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. The two ordinances, which are set to expire on May 31 unless the pandemic eases up earlier, are stricter than anything the other cities or Teton County have put on the books as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. Per the first emergency ordinance, which builds on the emergency declarations and self-isolation notice already in place in the community and the state, people who have traveled out of the area must upon their return self-quarantine for 14 days. That does not apply to travel from Bonneville, Madison, Fremont, Jefferson, Bingham, Clark, Bannock or Caribou counties in Idaho, nor does it apply to travel from Teton County, Wyoming. There are exceptions to that requirement for people doing essential work in other places. The second emergency ordinance prohibits all Victor hotels, motels and short-term rentals from accepting non-essential reservations until May 31. People who need to quarantine from their households, health care workers and victims of domestic violence can still make reservations. Blaine County passed a similar ordinance on March 27. Source: Teton Valley News

Avenues for Disaster Assistance and Relief

  • Ball Ventures, in partnership with 18 other Idaho businesses, launched Crush the Curve Idaho to assist essential workers in being tested. Currently, Crush the Curve is able to do around 1,500 tests per day and hopes to continue to grow its testing capabilities. Essential workers can take an online assessment test to see if they qualify for a Crush the Curve coronavirus test. If a person qualifies, a representative will call and schedule a test at the nearest testing center. Source: Post Register
  • Silver Star Communications has set up 12 free Wi-Fi hotspots in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming to help families needing internet access. The Wi-Fi locations are not permanent and are controlled sessions, meaning each connection is speed limited to allow for multiple concurrent users. The hotspots in the region can be found at the following locations:
    • Idaho Falls – at 890 Oxford Dr. Park in the Linden Elementary School parking lot.
    • Rexburg – at 478 N 2nd E. Access this hotspot within the Albertson’s and former Walmart parking lots.
    • Driggs – at 262 East Ross Ave.
    • Victor – at Sherman Park
    • Tetonia – 6309 N. Main St.
    • Soda Springs – at 550 E. 2nd South
    • Irwin – near the post office and elementary school at 3911 Old Irwin Road

Source: East Idaho News

  • Mountain View Hospital has put together safety kits as a way to show support for local truck drivers who continue to deliver groceries and critical supplies across the United States. Each kit includes face masks, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, handmade soap and toiletries. Source: East Idaho News
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, as part of HCA Healthcare, announced a comprehensive effort to protect its colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the measures announced was a new “pandemic pay continuation” policy to help protect financial security for frontline caregivers at all facilities. It applies to all HCA Healthcare employees, including those at EIRMC. Source: East Idaho News

Eastern Idaho – Week ending April 3

Job/Industry Information

  • Public school districts and charter schools across the region have announced temporary closures due to COVID-19. This would impact close to 44,000 enrolled students in the area.
  • College of Eastern Idaho has closed the physical campus to all but “essential personnel” for 21 days in accordance with the governor’s stay-home order. CEI general education classes have resumed following spring break through online learning using apps such as Blackboard and Zoom. Source: Post Register
  • Yellowstone and Grand Teton joined a growing list of national park closures and restrictions due to the virus. Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee also announced it would close to visitors. Source: Post Register
  • Melaleuca has been hiring people to work in its distribution center, as well as moving employees from other departments to work there to keep up with an increased demand of orders the company has experienced since the outbreak of COVID-19. The company is  looking to hire 50 more staff. Source: East Idaho News
  • Grocery store chains are recruiting additional staff to join their team after COVID-19 news sent customers flooding its stores. Albertson’s is currently seeking part-time and full-time employees. Open positions include clerks, cashiers and stockers, among others. Fred Meyer needs workers at checkout, to refill shelves and help fill online orders. Source: KIDK

For an updated look at who is hiring:

Avenues for Disaster Assistance and Relief

  • Bank of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in connection with local nonprofit leaders and public health team members, have initiated a public, community commitment fund in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). This fund has been set up to help nonprofit agencies and community partners who need emergency rapid funding to continue operations, to help individuals in need or solve immediate issues caused by coronavirus. Individuals can donate to the East Idaho Community Commitment Fund at a local Bank of Idaho branch.
  • The pharmacy staff for Idaho Falls Community Hospital and Mountain View Hospital have begun making their own hand sanitizers. The hospitals have partnered with two local distilleries, Grand Teton Distillery in Driggs and Distilled Resources in Rigby, as a source of ethanol. Elevation Labs provided the hospitals with glycerin, which it usually use for its own sanitizers and skin products, and a machine to help produce it. Source: Post Register
  • Grand Teton Distillery and New West Knife Works have partnered to make hand sanitizer. The product is made with 65 percent alcohol and is being distributed for free throughout the Teton Valley. Local nonprofits receiving the products include Family Safety Network, Seniors West of the Tetons and the Teton Valley Food Pantry. Source: Teton Valley News
  • Idaho Falls locals have banded together to sew masks for those in their community affected by the shortage. They have created a group called Idaho Falls Sewing Sisters. The group currently has received requests for nearly 4,000 masks. The effort operates largely through Facebook through a group called Masks for Idaho Falls Sewing Sisters. Source: Post Register, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331