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What does Stage 2 of Idaho's COVID-19 reopening plan mean for Fall 2020?

Idaho Gov. Brad Little moved the state back to Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebound plan, but modifications were made. How does this Stage 2 compare to Stage 2 in May 2020?

BOISE, Idaho — During a press conference on Friday, Nov. 13, Idaho Gov. Brad Little made the announcement that Idaho would be moving back to Stage 2 of the Idaho Rebound reopening plan. The rollback was in response to the dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, as Idaho has been averaging 1,000 new cases for 10 of the past 11 days.

Under this new Stage 2, modifications were made by Little. Notably, groups of more than 10 people will no longer be permitted in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

Religious and political expression is exempt from the gathering limit, however, and bars, restaurants, and other businesses can remain open, although patrons must be seated when not entering or leaving the business. 

You can read the whole modified Stage 2 protocol here.

Back when Idaho first went into Stage 2 in May, the restrictions placed on businesses, restaurants, venues, and Idahoans were slightly different than the new-and-improved Stage 2 currently implemented.

Here's how the two Stage 2s compare to one another.


May 2020 and November 2020:

Gatherings of more than ten people are not allowed. Social distancing and masks should be utilized during any gatherings indoors and outdoors.


May 2020:

The state asked that restaurants maintain six feet of physical distance between employees and patrons. That could mean limiting occupancy to 50% of seating capacity and limiting table to groups of six.

Restaurants were also asked to avoid using pre-set tableware. All employees were urged to wear cloth face coverings and gloves.

Restaurant dining rooms could open once their plans have been submitted to local public health districts. It's worth noting that the plans do not have to be approved before the restaurant opens.

Under Stage 2 in May, bars were to remain closed but were permitted to open in Stage 3 rather than Stage 4.

November 2020:

Restaurants and bars are permitted to stay open under the modified Stage 2. However, customers must be seated when they are not using the restroom, entering or leaving the establishment. Tables must also be set up to allow patrons to practice social distancing. 

Under the new Stage 2, nightclubs can operate as bars but must adhere to the same guidelines as bars and restaurants

Hair and nail salons

May 2020:

Along with other "close contact services," hair and nail salons were be allowed to open in Stage Two. That includes places like tattoo and massage parlors.

The state recommended these businesses keep work stations six feet apart and provide services by appointment only.

They were also told to consider asking clients about any symptoms they may be experiencing before each visit.

Like restaurants, close contact services were urged to limit the number of people inside and require employees to wear face coverings and gloves.

November 2020:

Hair and nail salons are permitted to stay open and are required to adhere to the above guidelines.


May 2020:

Social distancing is a big recommendation for gyms as well. The state is asking that all gyms keep exercise equipment at least six feet apart, and limit the number of people inside the building. All exercise equipment should be thoroughly disinfected after each use.

November 2020: 

Gyms are permitted to stay open and are required to adhere to the above guidelines.

Other Venues

May 2020:

Venues like movie theaters, sporting events and concert spaces would remain closed. 

November 2020:

Some movie theaters and sporting events (i.e., high school sports) are open. Social distancing is required within these venues.

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