Idaho Mom Could Face Jail Time Over Yard Sale During Coronavirus

Fort Gratiot, MI, USA – June 2, 2007: Garage sale on a Saturday morning in Fort Gratiot MI

Put your hands up and step away from the costume jewelry.

An Idaho woman was cited Friday for allegedly violating the state’s stay-at-home order for holding a yard sale that is not considered to be an “essential business.”

The Rathdrum Police Department said that the family held the yard sale for the past week in the northern Idaho city and said it “should not be open for business,” the Idaho Statesman said.

Police said that the family was warned on several occasions to stop the sale and was even issued a written warning that they were in violation of Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order.

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But they said the sale continued.

Christa Thompson, the homeowner, told the Coeur d’Alene Press that she asked police if she could sort out some items that were left behind by her late father and said police told her that it would be fine, as long as there were no signs or advertising.

I talked to my lawyer,” Peter Thompson, her husband, said. “He said we’re not doing anything wrong. I don’t consider this a business, you know? We’re just sorting it and getting rid of it as we go.”

The Statesman reported that violating the order is a misdemeanor that is punishable up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.

Idaho has seen 1,736 official cases and 48 deaths. The state issued a stay-at-home order last month and amended it on April 15. The orders appear to fall in line with other states and calls for residents to only engage in essential activities and prohibits all non-essential gatherings.

Little, the Republican governor, has faced some criticism over the orders. Rep. Heather Scott, who was described by the Idaho Statesman as a far-right activist, slammed the governor on a recent podcast.

“I mean, that’s no different than the Nazi Germany where you had government telling people, ‘you are an essential worker or non-essential workers.’ And the non-essential workers got put on a train,” Scott said, according to the paper. “That’s crazy, and that’s when I said, ‘he can’t do that,’ and I checked with the constitution — I’m not a lawyer, but I checked with a constitutional lawyer and absolutely, he cannot, he cannot do that. … He has no authority.”

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