County Announces Loosening Restrictions

May 12, 2020) — San Miguel County, CO – Public Health Officials announced plans to continue to align with the State’s orders at a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners today.

In an amendment to current orders, Public Health officials will allow non-critical businesses to extend their workforce beginning this Friday, May 15th at 12:01am to residents of the Western Slope. Current orders restrict workers to San Miguel County residents only, unless an exception has been granted via the County’s permitting process.

“Our goal is to thoughtfully loosen our restrictions categorically based on what is happening in our county and to mirror the State orders where it makes sense to do so,” Grace Franklin, County Public Health Director said.

County Public Health officials are regularly analyzing data with intentions on loosening restrictions every two weeks if possible. Data includes County COVID-19 case load, availability and ability to test, contact tracing, and regional healthcare capacity.

County health anticipates opening childcare with strict precautions on June 1st.

Decisions regarding summer camps, restaurant dining, and any changes to group sizes will largely depend on the state’s orders which are in effect until May 27th.

“We anticipate that Governor Polis will address these items and possibly others when he amends the State’s orders. We will likely follow his lead when we look at our new orders for June,” Franklin said.

Any changes to group size will still not likely permit large gatherings.

“Our summer will not be the same with regard to festivals, large weddings, and concerts. That’s not unique to our county, but rather the orders of the State which  are relying on credible public health information,” Franklin said.

Still to be determined are when to loosen orders involving visitors, lodging, and the 14 day quarantine for second-homeowners.

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets and  “hitchhikes” on the unprotected and the vulnerable. That’s why local and state guidelines emphasize limiting travel, especially to mountain towns, which are typically at high altitude and often popular recreation areas.

Dr. Sharon Grundy, County Medical Officer, says that is especially relevant in our county. “We know we are more vulnerable as a tourist destination. We have limited healthcare resources, and it gives us pause to open to visitors too early. We need to take all of this step by step.”

Franklin added, “We would like to move in one direction and open everything up, but the reality is that we do not know. We have to keep our eye on this virus and how it can impact our community.”

“We have all of these areas and more on our radar and will advise the Commissioners when we feel it’s safe to loosen those restrictions,” Franklin said.

Public health officials are reminding everyone to continue to wear face masks in public places, maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet, limit group sizes to no more than 10 people, and practice good hygiene (wash your hands and don’t touch your face).


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