Preston City adjusts to stay-at-home mandate; Idaho reports 1st COVID-19 deaths

PRESTON – In response to Gov. Brad Little’s mandate that Idaho residents stay-at-home for the next 21 days, Preston City will cut back its office hours and close city parks.

Beginning Thursday, March 26, Preston City Hall will be minimally staffed and business will be conducted through the city’s drive-up window between 12 pm – 4 pm daily.

Mayor Dan Keller wants residents to know there will be no reduction in law enforcement.

The public works department will have a slight reduction in staffing and hours, but the department will remain open 24/7.

Beginning immediately, city parks and property will not be available for private use and reservation through April 15, 2020.

“We are encouraging people to read the governor’s order,” Keller said. “We encourage the folks to keep their distance – don’t congregate and stay at home if you have to.”

Keller said he received “scores” of calls Thursday morning from residents wondering if police would enforce the stay-at-home order.

“Peer pressure from the community is our first preference,” he insisted. “We are not going to use law enforcement to enforce this. We are not out looking for people who are congregating to write them a ticket. Everyone knows what’s right and reasonable.”

In a Facebook post, Keller is encouraging residents to support local businesses “during this restricted period of time.”

There are no cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County, but Idaho is reporting its first deaths. State health officials say three Idaho residents have died as a result of the illness caused by the coronavirus. The officials said Thursday that two of the cases were in Blaine County.

One was a man over the age of 60 and the other was a man over the age of 80. It wasn’t clear if either had underlying health issues. The third case was a man over age 70 from Canyon County who had underlying health issues. More than 146 Idaho residents have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.

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