Memorial Day Weekend has traditionally been the beginning of the busy summer tourist season in Grand County. Businesses look forward to this weekend to jumpstart their cash flows and welcome in a new season of prosperity. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in some way and has caused a lot of disruption in our lives.
Over the last ten weeks, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) and the COVID-19 Response Team have made some difficult decisions to keep our community safe and healthy. We assure you that the revenue losses to our economy have weighed heavily in those discussions. It is for that reason that Grand County submitted a request for variance from state provisions that impose certain restrictions on restaurants, short-term lodging, fitness/recreation centers, and places of worship. If approved, the variance would allow Grand County to tailor its responses and public health orders in a manner that best addresses our county’s needs based on science, data and local factors.
Schelly Olson, Lead Information Officer for the Grand County COVID-19 Response Team, noted, “Our variance request was submitted last week, but it has not been approved yet. We are hoping to hear back from CDPHE in the next day or two, as they stated that the approval process takes about a week.” According to Ann Hause, CDPHE Director for the Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance, “the variances are approved for the same time frame as the Safer at Home Order, which currently is set to expire on May 26. CDPHE will communicate how we intend to treat those variances after May 26 shortly, as we do not want counties reapplying for the same variance to be effective on May 27.”
Because the holiday weekend is quickly approaching and the variance approval is not guaranteed, GCPH wishes to remind all Grand County residents, visitors, and businesses that the state’s Safer at Home guidelines and restrictions are in effect until further notice. GCPH will update the community if the variance is approved by enacting a Public Health Order (PHO) outlining the new guidelines for the holiday weekend. Until then, everyone should assume that the state’s current Safer At Home restrictions prevail.
● Continue staying at home to the greatest extent possible and only travel for essential activities.
● Stay within ten (10) miles of home or inside your primary county of residence when recreating.
● Only participate in solo recreation or recreation that involves just your household members.
● Limit gatherings to less than ten (10) people, this includes graduation parties.
● Travel should be for essential activities only, not leisure or vacation.
● Practice best personal hygiene practices (wash hands, cover coughs, do not touch your face, stay home if you are sick).
● Campgrounds, picnic areas, and playgrounds are closed. (except for Colorado Parks and Wildlife campgrounds)
● Retail, personal services and other businesses can be open with strict social distancing and cleaning requirements.
● Restaurants shall remain CLOSED to on-premises consumption (take-out and delivery is permitted).
● On-premise drinking establishments (bars, brew pubs, wineries, tasting rooms) shall remain CLOSED.
● Short-term lodging, such as vacation-style rentals, VRBOs, Airbnbs, cabins and hotels/motels are CLOSED FOR LEISURE STAYS.
NOTE FROM THE STATE ON HOTELS: Many people live in hotels and some essential workers require use of them, so they are continuing to operate as critical. Longer term stays, where an individual is using the space as a residence rather than a short-term accommodation, is not restricted. We understand that we cannot enforce who is staying at hotels and that some people may be using them to recreate outside of their communities. However, the intent behind restricting short-term, vacation-style rentals is to encourage compliance with not recreating more than ten miles from your home.
NOTE FROM GCPH ON SHORT-TERM LODGING: While Grand County’s Short-term Lodging Order ends on May 22, the State’s Safer at Home Order does not expire until May 26. Please read the note above regarding the booking of hotel/motel rooms for essential personnel ONLY.
For questions regarding Grand County’s COVID-19 response please call 970-725-3803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information regarding the County’s variance request status will be posted online at co.grand.co.us/covid19.