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Idaho border towns: Utahns buying lottery tickets could spread coronavirus

File photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Some Idaho officials and residents want lottery ticket sales to stop, because they are worried Utah residents will keep crossing the border and spread coronavirus.

Idaho has a shelter-in-place order to slow the spread of coronavirus, but lottery sales are still allowed. Now, some are calling for them to be classified as non-essential instead.

The Idaho lottery and coronavirus

A message from Oneida County Commissioner Bill Lewis on Facebook says, “Our biggest health threat in Oneida County comes from people buying Lottery Tickets, most of them from Utah. The Lottery sales businesses report that calls are coming from Utah, asking if they are still selling Lottery tickets, and then they drive north to buy them. We’ve got to stop this flood.”

He pointed out that Idaho Fish & Game stopped the sale of permits to non-residents. Lewis asked residents to call the governor and their state representatives.

Reactions in the region

One of the comments on a version of the post shared by the local sheriff’s department comes from Chad Christensen, state representative for district 32B. He said he continues to work on it and is growing impatient.

“They have expected non-essential businesses to close, yet this government run non-essential business remains open,” he wrote.

Lewis told the Idaho State Journal that residents are calling him with their worries that they will get sick. Oneida County did not report any cases of COVID-19 yet at last check.

“I’m concerned the virus might come from the outside because we have had no citizens to this date that I know of who have tested positive for COVID-19,” Lewis said to the paper. “We don’t know where this is going to come from, but we want to slow the spread.”


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States