Vail working to reopen limited transit service
With public gatherings limited to 10 people, town will be very "conservative" in planning for events
- Restaurants and bars remain closed for in-house businesses for now.
- Real estate brokers can resume in-person showings as of April 27.
- Dog groomers can start to open.
- Public gatherings will be limited to 10 people.
- Everyone needs to wear a mask when out in public, including trails.
Vail officials are working now to reopen the town’s bus system, and are working to figure out just how the town can celebrate the Fourth of July, usually the town’s busiest single day.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson on Tuesday updated the Vail Town Council on how the town plans to gradually reopen as stay-at-home orders begin to lift.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis recently approved an Eagle County request for an early release from some current requirements, and on Thursday will virtually visit the valley to celebrate that fact.
But that visit is, in fact, a small step on a longer road.
Robson said the town’s transit system will begin limited transit operations, perhaps as soon as May 4.
That will happen “on a very limited basis,” Robson said. Buses will run on the limited spring schedule, Robson said, and passengers will have to board from the rear doors. In addition, Robson said driver areas will be enclosed in plexiglass.
Robson said town officials have heard a lot of comments from residents who rely on the town’s bus system to get to grocery stores and other essential tasks.
‘Going to be extremely conservative’
While the transit system is looking at a gradual reopening, Robson noted that no decisions have been made yet regarding the July 4 celebration.
“We would love to still have some offering of fireworks,” Robson said. But, he added, “We’re going to be extremely conservative.”
Robson said the continuing limit on public gatherings will affect the annual King of the Mountain volleyball tournament and the Vail Lacrosse Shootout. The Vail Recreation District is working with those and other groups to see if events can be rescheduled until later this year.
For now, Robson said events need to be limited to just residents of Eagle County. During a Wednesday press conference, Polis said May will “look a lot like April” in terms of staying home, particularly for older people or those with underlying health conditions.
The limit on public gatherings will have an effect on town council and board meetings.
Mayor Dave Chapin said he had hoped the council could hold an in-person meeting in May. That looks to be unlikely, he said, particularly given the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. Almost 20 people have to be in the council room for those meetings, not counting the public, Chapin said.
That means that town hearings expected to draw public comment will be postponed until residents can attend meetings in person.
Robson said town officials are looking at how to start coming back.
The town’s police and fire departments are still on duty and responding to calls, Robson said. In addition, the police department’s front desk is open on a limited basis.
Easing stay-at-home orders means offices can return to up to 50% in-person staffing. Robson said those who want to return to their offices can, but town buildings will still be open to the public on an appointment-only basis.
When the town does reopen to visitors, Robson said marketing will be done “sensitively.”
“We’re working to remain ahead of the curve” on this, he added.
Vail Daily Business editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.