Eagle County issues local COVID-19 public health order
Order will be in place until May 27, with Colorado now turning restrictions over to local authorities
As Colorado turns control of COVID-19 restrictions over to local health departments around the state, Eagle County has released a new public health order that takes effect Friday.
While the local health order generally maintains the same restrictions as before, it also sets a target end date of May 27, said Birch Barron, emergency management director for Eagle County.
“The need for public health restrictions is still present here in Eagle County,“ Barron said. ”There is still a need for restrictions for a little while longer because community disease spread is still really high. If it wasn’t, we’d be in a different position.”
If infection levels and hospitalizations are in check and if at least 60% of county residents are vaccinated by May 27, coronavirus restrictions that have been in place to varying extents for most of a year will then be greatly reduced, the county said in announcing the health order.
“This is our opportunity to take advantage of a naturally slower time in our community to greatly reduce disease spread while increasing our vaccination rate,” Heath Harmon, director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment, said in a news release announcing the order. “If we can focus our efforts on these two goals now, it will set us up for a much better summer.”
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Eagle County is on track to meet that 60% vaccination target, with about 53% of residents now having had at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Barron. That includes about 89% or people ages 70 and older and about 80% of people ages 50 and older. People still need to take precautions, as the county continues to see a concerning level of disease spread, Barron said. The seven-day moving average of infections is about 20 new cases a day in the county.
Those new cases include some reports of infections among people who have had only the first of two vaccine doses, and infections among other people who have have had both doses but not enough time to develop full immunity, Barron said.
Eagle County has seen 5,863 cases, 134 hospitalizations and 22 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Colorado, meanwhile, has seen more than 485,318 cases and 6,177 deaths, and has seen about 1,400 new cases a day over the past week, according to the state health department.
The new county health order, which officials encourage everyone to read, continues face mask requirements for anyone over age two in all public indoor environments; continues requirements for visitors to be free of any COVID-19 symptoms prior to arriving in the county; and continues quarantine or isolation requirements for people who are sick or who have been exposed to someone who is.
It also continues guidance for all businesses in Eagle County, with capacity limits and restrictions for certain sectors of the economy, including restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and limits for indoor and outdoor events, which still require the county’s approval.
Under the order, restaurants are limited to 50% occupancy or 150 people, whichever is less, with 6 feet of distance required between parties. Gyms and fitness centers are limited to 50% occupancy or 50 people per room, whichever is less.
Indoor seated and unseated events are limited to 50% occupancy or 150 people, with 6 feet of distance required between parties, while outdoor unseated and seated events are limited to 50% occupancy or 175 people, with 6 feet of distance between parties and face coverings required.
Capacities are higher for the roughly 25 businesses Eagle County has approved through the 5 Star State Certification Program.
With five-star certifications, restaurants and gyms and fitness centers are under no occupancy caps, though 6 feet of distance must be maintained between parties. Indoor seated events can have up to 500 people, while indoor unseated events are limited to 50% occupancy, up to 500 people, though 6 feet of distance must be maintained between parties. Outdoor seated and unseated events are limited to 50% occupancy, up to 1,000 people, with face coverings required.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at email@example.com.