Victor and Driggs mayors: ‘Please don’t come here’

TETON VALLEY, Ida. — The mayors of both Driggs and Victor, Idaho explicitly asked people not to visit their towns during the COVID-19 pandemic in a letter released today.

“Right now, we are asking visitors to stay home,” Mayor Will Frohlich of Victor and Mayor Hyrum Johnson of Driggs wrote. “Simply put, we do not have the resources to effectively care for additional people visiting our valley at this time.”

The letter follows similar asks from the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board and other western destination towns like Moab, Utah. Idaho Governor Brad Little also issued a Stay Home Order for the state yesterday.

“People want to escape the fear and anxiety generated by the coronavirus pandemic, and recreating in the outdoors seems like a wonderful way to accomplish that while still social distancing. Those of us who live in the Teton region understand that desire. That’s why we choose to live here,” the letter says. “But now is not the time to travel to escape outdoors in a resort town in rural America, instead it is the time to find outdoor opportunities in your own home town. Your virus vacation should be a staycation, because one cannot guarantee they are not going to get sick when they travel, nor can they ensure that they will not get injured recreating in the backcountry.”

There are still just two confirmed cases in Teton County, but seven tests were pending as of yesterday, March 25. Teton Valley Health Dr. Juanita Prissel believes community spread of COVID-19 is occurring, but limited testing has stunted accurate reports.

“Teton Valley cannot handle an influx of sick people,” the letter says. “For that reason, if you love Teton Valley and are here on vacation, you need to go home and stay home until the country has gained control over the virus… The sacrifice of giving up your vacation to help minimize the potentially devastating effects of the virus overwhelming local communities is small compared to what is being asked of so many of our fellow citizens.”

“So please stay or go home until the clouds part. Visit us again when we are at our best and ready to welcome you.  We look forward to that good day, just as much as you do.”

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