One week into eased restrictions, Eagle County businesses feeling optimistic
Outdoor, recreational businesses are seeing a serious uptick in customers
Eagle County is one week into its blue phase of COVID-19 recovery. Depending on how the blue phase goes, the county may move on to the black diamond phase before July 1, according to local health officials.
Common themes among local business owners during the blue phase include “staying vigilant” and taking it “day-by-day.” Added health measures are being taken and businesses are slowly moving toward some form of normalcy while still maintaining guidelines set forth by community leaders and health officials.
The great outdoors
Outdoor, recreational businesses are seeing more customers and raising their sanitation efforts to help customers feel safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the community.
Zip Adventures of Vail in Wolcott has been operating tours for locals since May 15. The company has also been donating tours to local frontline workers and emergency personnel.
“We’re just trying to get them out and give them some relief,” owner Matt Seatvet said.
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With the blue phase, Zip Adventures has been able to work with outside guests, using “every safety precaution possible,” Seatvet said.
Operations are outside, where social distancing is possible, and Zip Adventures is welcoming families and expecting an influx in out-of-state visitors.
“People are coming — it’s 110 degrees in Texas,” Seatvet said.
At Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards, business is getting busier every day, said Emily Dmohowski. When the blue phase started, the local fishing company could start its outfitting business, offering guided trips. Dmohowski said the shop is expecting an uptick in out-of-state residents later in the summer.
“I think people are just excited to get outside,” she said, adding a lot of first-timers are coming in. “We’re seeing a huge uptick in people who never touched a fly rod coming in.”
Vail Valley Anglers offers guided trips and tips for beginners and has been in the valley for over 25 years.
“We’re seeing a lot more people wanting to try the sport,” Dmohowski said, adding that “fishing’s been pretty good” lately in Eagle County.
Local golf courses are open. Among the protocols are cleaning golf carts after each use, no pulling the pin and the addition of foam pool noodles in the hole to make it safer to retrieve the ball. Tee times have been filling up quickly.
Kind Bikes in Edwards is continuing its curbside service into the blue phase, despite being allowed to have in-store service. Owner Chris Anderson said it’s too difficult to control sanitation inside the shop with people touching things, and the curbside allows the shop to handle more customers since inside would require extra distancing measures.
“Bikes were the new toilet paper six weeks ago,” he said of the business his shop has seen. “Bike shops are very, very fortunate. We don’t go a day without being grateful for the business that we have.”
Everybody loves tacos
Another thankful business is Rocky Mountain Taco, having opened its brick-and-mortar location in Minturn at an inopportune time as coronavirus hit.
“It’s actually doing OK,” co-owner Dan Purtell said. “It’s not what we’d hoped for initially, but no one’s doing the business that they would normally be doing. I think we just got really lucky we landed in Minturn because the town’s completely embraced us.”
Rocky Mountain Taco also has truck locations in EagleVail and Avon. Like many businesses, the down time due to COVID-19 was used toward ramping up a new menu, cleaning and other operations to prepare. Purtell said it’s not fun wearing a mask over a 450-degree grill for hours.
“We’re being vigilant,” he said, a sentiment shared at most businesses across the valley. “It’s not about you. We’re doing this for everyone.”
While national media was filled with crowded beaches and other non-social-distancing events, businesses in Eagle County are taking the re-opening of the community very seriously.
“Things are looking up,” Dmohowski said.