On April 8 the 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.
“This is a very important piece of not overwhelming our healthcare system so we can provide services for people who live here in the community,” explained Mayor Will Frohlich during the meeting.
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 County 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, healthcare workers, and victims of domestic violence can still make reservations. Blaine County passed a similar ordinance on March 27, and Teton County, after wrestling with the issue in six separate meetings, passed nearly the same regulations on April 13.
Frohlich, who works in the hospitality industry, pointed out that major vacation rental platforms such as AirBNB already have COVID-19 information hubs and a policy guaranteeing no charges for pandemic-related cancellations.
“Victor’s lodging entities have already taken these measures and put them in place at the onset of the issue we’re facing. The community has done the right thing. We’re basically just trying to reestablish the seriousness of this. this is not the place to come to hang out and wait this out,” Frohlich said.
The city has little intention of passing out misdemeanor citations for ordinance violations. Rather, city administrator Olivia Goodale explained, there will be a concerted public education effort.
“We would really, really lean on public education when it comes to enforcement,” she said at Wednesday’s meeting. “For us to take further steps after that, someone would have to be willfully and knowingly violating these ordinances or the state order. We’re not putting this in place to start issuing citations.”
The council unanimously passed both ordinances with little discussion. The full text is available for review at www.victorcityidaho.com/agenda_details_T12_R211.php.