Earlier today, Governor Little held a press conference where he announced that Idaho will be entering stage two of his reopening plan on Saturday, May 16. This means dine-in restaurants, hair salons, gyms and many other businesses will be allowed to open while maintaining social distancing standards. The governor also announced that he is modifying his original plan and will allow bars to open in Stage 3 (May 30) rather than Stage 4, provided all social distancing protocols are observed and infection rates do not spike. Additional detail on the stages are available at https://rebound.idaho.gov/.
The governor also announced that he will modify Idaho’s “stay healthy” order, removing a requirement for a 14 day self-quarantine for all those entering the state, unless people are traveling from an area with high community spread.
The Governor also talked about his small business programs. In addition to the small business grants that the state began issuing last week, the state will also be providing a 30-day supply of PPE to small businesses who request them. Businesses can find information about the PPE supplies https://supplies.idaho.gov/. Both programs are using Cares Act funding.
The Governor stated that Idaho has quadrupled testing capacity. He reiterated how important testing and tracing will be as we continue to move forward.
F&G Commission Rescinds Non-Resident Tag/License Sale Restriction
Change is in accordance with Governor's new directives
Also today, Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved resuming sales of nonresident sales of licenses, tags and permits, which will be available for sale at 10 a.m. M.D.T. on May 16. The decision was aligned with Governor Brad Little’s revised guidance for Stage 2 reopening of Idaho, which includes relaxing the 14-day self-quarantine for people entering Idaho.
Commissioners suspended the sale of some nonresident licenses and tags in April in support of the “stay at home” order in Idaho and many other states. Nonresident licenses, tags and permits will be available to buy online, at vendors, or by calling (800) 554-8685.
IOGA Webinar with Chair of Gov's Testing Taskforce, Dr. Jim Souza
Join us for this special webinar Q&A with Dr. Jim Souza, co-chair of the Governor's "Testing Task Force" and St. Luke's chief medical officer to discuss data, trends, needs, and possibilities for testing in Idaho going forward.
The IOGA O-19 committee was lucky enough to meet with Dr. Souza; it was simply the most valuable and informative discussion in the age of CoVid-19.
If there is one webinar to not miss, this is it.
When: May 20, 2020 01:30 PM Mountain Time Topic: State of Testing, IOGA Webinar with Dr. Souza
Register in advance for this webinar by clicking the button below and following the link.
(After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.)
New Bill Would Extend PPP Forgiveness Through August 25
Senator Manchin (D-WV) introduced a bill that will extend the Payroll Protection Program forgiveness window from 8 weeks to 16 weeks. While seasonal operators have already been given more flexibility to determine their loan calculation period, the forgiveness period was still confined to June 30. Through this bill, the forgiveness window will be extended through the end of the summer.
Senator Manchin’s office is actively seeking additional co-sponsors. Please reach out to members of our Idaho delegation and ask them to join the growing, bipartisan group of U.S. Senators who are supporting this effort.
SENATOR WYDEN INTRODUCES RURAL JOBS BILL WITH MAJOR FOCUS ON OUTFITTERS & GUIDES
Wyden’s 21st Century Conservation Corps for Our Health and Our Jobs Act will provide significant investment in wildfire prevention and resiliency efforts; programs that can get rural Americans back to work when it’s deemed safe by public health experts to do so; direct relief for outfitters and guides; as well as extensive resources for watershed restoration.
Some Key Elements:
Establishes a $7 billion relief fund to help outfitters and guides who hold U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior special use permits – and their employees – stay afloat through the truncated recreation season;
Provides an additional $3.5 billion for the U.S. Forest Service and $2 billion for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to increase the pace and scale of hazardous fuels reduction and thinning efforts, prioritizing projects that are shovel-ready and environmentally-reviewed;
Establishes a $9 billion fund for qualified land and conservation corps to increase job training and hiring specifically for jobs in the woods, helping to restore public lands and watersheds, while providing important public health related jobs in this time of need;
Provides an additional $150 million for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, the flagship program for community forest restoration and fire risk reduction;
Provides $6 billion for U.S. Forest Service capital improvements and maintenance to put people to work reducing the maintenance backlog on National Forest System lands, including reforestation;
Provides $500 million for the Forest Service State and Private Forestry program, which will be divided between programs to help facilitate landscape restoration projects on state, private and federal lands, including $100 million for the Firewise program to help local governments plan for and reduce wildfire risks;
Provides $10 billion for on-farm water conservation and habitat improvement projects;
Provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has broad bipartisan support; and
Provides $100 million for land management agencies to purchase and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees, contractors and service workers.
A one-page summary is available here. A section-by-section summary is available here. A copy of the legislative text is available here.
TAKE ACTION TODAY TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
Call or Email Idaho Senators Risch and Crapo and ask them to support the Wyden bill.
This bill, if passed, could be the difference between solvency and insolvency for a significant proportion of outfitters in Idaho--and like the proposed bill from Senator Daines, it is built on nonpartisan principles and practical needs across rural economies and hard-hit industries.
Contact Senator Risch HERE
Contact Senator Crapo HERE Here is what some folks from our tent (and adjacent ones) have to say about the bill:
Aaron Lieberman, Executive Director, Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association: “The outfitting and guiding industry finds itself in a uniquely precarious situation due to novel coronavirus. Bookings are spiraling and anticipated losses compounding. Our industry is central to rural economies across the country. In Idaho alone, outfitters and guides generate over 1 billion dollars per year. There is a real and immediate need in our industry, and the rural economies our industry supports, for this initiative being proposed by Senator Wyden. Like the proposed bill to be introduced by Senator Daines across the aisle, it demonstrates a recognition of our industry’s centrality to rural economies, to recreational opportunities, and to the ethos of the American West and our nation.”
Zach Collier, Owner/Outfitter, Northwest Rafting Company: “Due to COVID-19 closures, outfitting and guiding has come to a screeching halt right when our busy season was scheduled to begin. Senator Wyden’s bill keeps the guiding industry afloat while investing in recreation infrastructure and the health and resiliency of our forests. This bill will allow me to keep river guides employed improving our public lands immediately.”
Pete Wallstrom, Guide/Owner, Momentum River Expeditions; Upper Klamath Outfitters Association: “Outfitted outdoor recreation in our region has grown and thrived in the last decade and is a bright spot in our rural economies, providing sustainable jobs and career opportunities and introducing people to our incredible public lands. However, COVID 19 could decimate many of the small businesses that make up the industry and cause long term damage to our local rural economies. This bill will support our public lands and the many communities and businesses that depend on them by supporting outfitters, critical forest resiliency and wildfire projects, and the backlog of trail and facility maintenance projects. It would provide critical short term help and be a long term win for the region. We strongly support this bill.”
Erik Weiseth, Managing Partner/River Guide, Orange Torpedo Trips - Whitewater Cowboys - The Paddled Pub - Salmon River Challenge: “Outfitting and guiding is an industry we are in because we love it. We love showing people the incredible places we operate. We love inspiring kids to explore the world and step away from their screens. We love watching families bond as they float out of cell phone range and into conversations with each other. We love sharing what are some of the most impactful travel moments of people’s lives. All of this could end. It is commonly believed that without significant changes in current travel capabilities or other alternative revenue options more than 25 percent of outfitters could cease to be in business next year. The ripple effect of that loss could be catastrophic in rural tourism based economies and for states with growing tourism markets. This bill will allow outfitters an opportunity to weather this storm while also serving to help improve and protect the places we already operate. It will allow us to continue as anchors of rural economies, creators of future advocates of natural resources, and employers of thousands. This is more than investment in us, it is an investment in our communities that will have long term returns.”
Aaron Bannon, Executive Director, American Outdoors Association: “Outfitters and guides have been hit hard by the current crisis, and unlike other industrial sectors, they will not have a chance to recover when the crisis subsides due to the seasonal nature of the industry. The relief in this bill will keep the sustainable recreation economy alive, which is important to so many Americans who value the great outdoors.”
Louis Geltman, Policy Director, Outdoor Alliance: "As our country navigates the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to get into the outdoors has been a fleeting bit of solace for many Americans. At the same time, the crisis has demonstrated the need for better recreation infrastructure, especially close to home, and addressing that unmet demand presents tremendous opportunities to put Americans to work building resources that will be of lasting value to communities. Outdoor Alliance applauds Senator Wyden's leadership in recognizing the tremendous value of our public lands and waters in helping our country recover from this crisis."
Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director, American Whitewater: “A leader on public lands and rivers conservation over many years, Senator Wyden understands that our public lands are essential to our physical and mental health. As we face the unprecedented challenges of the current public health crisis, we appreciate the Senator’s leadership in advancing legislation to invest in public lands and the outdoor recreation economy.”
Brian Sykes, President, Oregon Outfitters & Guides Association: “Most outfitters and guides in Oregon are small businesses, independent contractors or sole proprietors; and a significant number of these have already suffered significant financial loss due to COVID-19 closures. Providing assistance for struggling outfitters is crucial for providing employment and supporting local businesses (often in rural areas) and providing a service for members of the public who otherwise might not have access to the outdoors. Fees generated by outfitter business are also important for supporting local trail and facility maintenance. Another important priority of this bill is the substantial support it provides for hazardous fuels management. Wildfires have a severe and direct impact on outdoor recreation in general and outfitters and guides in particular.”