More Local Businesses Receive Green Light to Reopen
~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Last week, Teller County got hit with the first new confirmed case of COVID-19 in several weeks, but the area is still encountering a low number of coronavirus inflictions overall.
Currently the county has seen a total of 33 cases and two deaths since the outbreak struck last March.
Statewide, the number of cases rose by over 1,000 last week and Colorado has now experienced more than 27,000 cases of the novel coronavirus. Across the state, 4,000-plus have been hospitalized and more than 1,200 have died due to the virus. However, last week the state saw less than 10 new deaths caused by the virus.
Compared to other states, Colorado is faring quite well in combating COVID-19.
Surveillance data on the Colorado COVID-19 website shows that the number of visits to emergency rooms for people that have symptoms related to the coronavirus decreased greatly during the month of May, compared to the statistics at the peak of the epidemic.
During the last week of May, emergency room (ER) visits related to the coronavirus accounted for only 1.2% of all ER visits. By comparison, in the last two weeks of March, visits related to the virus made up 5.5% off all emergency department visits.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis released guidance for more businesses to open across the state including places of worship, personal and public recreation establishments. Some counties, including Teller, have already opened similar businesses due to the acceptance of their variances. But, now places of worship, gyms, swimming pools, and outdoor recreational outfitters can open up across the state.
Churches and other places of worship can now reopen with strict guidelines, including reducing attendance and implementing social distancing measures. The governor’s guidance recommends that all churches reduce their attendance by 50% or 50 people whichever is lower. The guidance also requires churches to implement a pre-registration and asks that everyone who goes to church wears masks.
For gyms and swimming pools the rules in the guidance are very similar. Gyms and indoor swimming pools can now reopen if they keep their capacity at 25% or 50 people whichever is less, and people stay six feet away from each other. Outdoor pools can be open at 50% capacity or 50 people whatever is lower.
Playgrounds can now be open to less than 10 people at a time as long as people stay six feet apart. Sports fields can be open for individual non-league sports and recreational activities for groups of 25 people or less.
All types of outdoor recreational activities are now allowed for groups of 10 people or less. Outfitter companies can operate as long as they keep their groups to less than ten people including the guide.
Locally, not much has changed with businesses until the county receives the green light from the state health department and approves a variance to open casinos with restrictions. Most local businesses inside Teller County have been operating with restrictions excluding casinos and the Woodland Aquatic Center plans to reopen on June 15
Late last week, the county released a statement saying that all restaurants that have bars as another part of their business could also reopen. County officials also offered a list of establishments that have food licenses and bars that included most eateries and watering holes in Teller.
The county also released a variance form to local businesses that they can fill out if they feel their business cannot operate under the restrictions provided by the county’s variance. The county will accept the requests and review them to see if they can get a variance approved for the individual businesses.