Idaho sheriff disputes COVID-19 stay-at-home mandate
Sheriff Daryl Wheeler posted a letter on the office's Facebook page asking the governor to reconsider the statewide order
BONNER COUNTY, Idaho — In a letter posted on the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Daryl Wheeler asks Idaho Gov. Brad Little to reconsider the statewide stay-home order that was issued March 25 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“I do not believe that suspending the Constitution was wise,” Wheeler’s letter reads. “Because COVID-19 is nothing like the Plague.”
Wheeler references a letter written by Alfie Oakes, the founder and CEO of Florida-based Oakes Farms Seed to Table. Oakes’ March 24 letter to U.S. Sen. Rick Scott argues that the long-term economic effects of a stay-home order outweigh the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Oakes also suggests that the coronavirus pandemic has been given traction by the media and “globalists” in an attempt to keep President Donald Trump from being reelected.
“With the incredible power that the Globalists yield over the World Health Organization and mainstream media, they easily created this incredible — yet completely baseless — fear around the world regarding COVID-19,” Oakes’ letter reads.
According to Wheeler and Oakes, the information provided by the World Health Organization regarding the global pandemic is unreliable.
“We were misled by public health officials,” Wheeler’s letter continues. “Now it is time to reinstate our Constitution.”
Wheeler did not immediately respond to the Idaho Statesman’s request for an interview Thursday.
The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office serves North Idaho cities such as Sandpoint, Priest River, Clark Fork and Kootenai. The Panhandle Health District has reported 37 confirmed coronavirus cases between Kootenai (36) and Bonner (one) counties. PHD also confirmed its first case of community spread Monday.
“In the spirit of liberty and the Constitution, you can request those that are sick to stay home,” Wheeler writes. “But, at the same time, you must release the rest of us to go on with our normal business.”