Eagle County receives state approval to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Monday | VailDaily.com

Eagle County receives state approval to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Monday

New public health order allows gatherings of up to 50 people

Eagle County will transition to the blue phase of its transition trail map on Monday, which allows restaurants to open at reduced capacity and for gatherings of up to 50 people.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

Eagle County has received its official variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, allowing implementation of its new public health order regarding COVID-19. The community is moving to the “blue phase” on Memorial Day.

In her letter approving the request, CDPHE Executive Director Jill Ryan referenced the county’s declining trend in cases and ability to investigate new cases, as well as the medical community’s available resources to treat patients. The variance is contingent upon keeping the disease spread of COVID-19 at manageable levels.

The variance allows Eagle County to open hotels and restaurants to out-of-town visitors, and would like to allow groups of 50, as well, with social distancing guidelines in place.

Eagle County Public Health and Environment announced it was updating the county’s public health order regarding COVID-19 on Thursday.

Eagle County stated in a release on Thursday that current virus tracking shows the county is prepared to take the next step. Public health will continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19. As some restrictions are rolled back, Eagle County officials note the importance of residents and business leaders continuing to meet social distancing requirements.

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“If everyone here, as part of the community, is wearing a face mask and maintaining that social distance and not hanging around in groups without those kind of protections in place, the guests will also adhere to that,” commissioner Jeanne McQueeney said on Thursday. “I actually believe they will see this is how you behave.”

County launches COVID-19 business toolkit

The county is also sharing an updated COVID-19 business toolkit to help local businesses navigate the transition from the green phase to the blue phase of the transition trail map.

“This phased approach, the intention is to stress test a little bit in an environment that looks nothing like our winter ski season traffic, but starts to get our businesses understanding how do we operate in this new normal,” said Birch Barron with Eagle County Emergency Management.

The business toolkit was developed through a collaborative effort between the county, the Vail Valley Foundation, Vail Valley Partnership and the Basalt Chamber of Commerce.

“The residents, businesses, organizations and governments of Eagle County have done very well in this effort so far, and we have been leading the way in the State of Colorado” says a letter to the business community from the Eagle County Board of Commissioners included in the toolkit. “This is due to your hard work and diligence, and the next phases of our recovery are equally as reliant on individuals and businesses in Eagle County moving forward, in unison, through the next phases of the new Public Health Order.”

What the blue phase entails

All community members are strongly encouraged to read the entire order. In summary, changes in the new order include but are not limited to:

  • Allowing gatherings of up to 50 people. 6 feet of distance will still be required between non-household members.
  • Allowing dine-in service at restaurants and bars at a reduced capacity, with social distancing protocols in place.
  • Allowing short-term lodging to reopen at a reduced capacity. 
  • Allowing outdoor recreation businesses, such as guided tours, and areas with high-touch equipment like playgrounds to open if social distancing and sanitation requirements are met.
  • Requiring all visitors to be free of any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 for 10 days prior to arrival in Eagle County. 
  • Continuing requirements for people who are sick and for people who have been exposed to someone who is sick.
  • Continuing requirements for all businesses to create and visibly post a social distancing protocol, explaining how the business is achieving all social distancing, sanitizing and cleaning, and other requirements. 

The county has created a Q&A resource that will continue to be updated.

Guidance on face coverings will remain consistent with the current green phase, which strongly recommends the use of face coverings in indoor public spaces and requires their use for employees in certain professions where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

Updates on the county’s response to COVID-19 are being shared at http://www.ECEmergency.org.  The county’s forum for community discussions is at http://www.facebook.com/OneValleyVoice. Those with additional questions can email covidquestions@eaglecounty.us or call 970-328-9750.

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