Eagle County to update COVID-19 public health order, launches business toolkit
County expects to enter blue phase of its COVID-19 transition on Monday
Eagle County is seeking state permission 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. In alignment with the county’s transition trail map, the move to the blue phase is anticipated to take place on Monday, May 25.
The county submitted a variance request, which would allow for the loosening of restrictions, to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on May 11, but it has not yet received a response.
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.
“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
“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.”
Additional information and regular updates on the county’s response to COVID-19 are being shared at ecemergency.org. The county’s forum for community discussions is at facebook.com/OneValleyVoice. Those with additional questions can email email@example.com or call 970-328-9750.
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.
The Eagle County Board of Commissioners is continuing to urge residents and visitors to take a personal pledge to follow the Five Commitments of Containment:
- I will maintain 6 feet of social distance.
- I will wash my hands often.
- I will cover my face in public.
- I will stay home when I am sick.
- I will get tested immediately if I have symptoms.
Community members and visitors are reminded that personal responsibility also means people must make the best decisions for themselves. Officials caution that just because restrictions on certain businesses and activities have loosened, it does not mean those who are uncomfortable or are in high-risk categories for COVID-19 should participate.
— This story contains material from a press release from Eagle County
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.