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Restrictions remain in effect during holiday weekend

Sky-Hi News staff report

As of Thursday morning, travel and social distancing restrictions remained in place across Grand County.

Emphasizing that Grand County’s requested variance had not yet been approved by the state, the county’s COVID-19 response team reiterated Wednesday that state’s safer at home guidelines and restrictions are still in effect.

The county’s health department said it would update the community if the variance is approved and outline new guidelines for the holiday weekend, but until then, everyone should assume the restrictions will prevail.

Grand County has requested a variance from state imposed restrictions on restaurants, short-term lodging, fitness and recreation centers, and places of worship. If approved, it would allow the county to locally tailor its responses and public health orders.

“Our variance request was submitted last week, but it has not been approved yet,” said Schelly Olson, a spokesperson for the response team, in a statement. “We are hoping to hear back from CDPHE in the next day or two, as they stated that the approval process takes about a week.”

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Citing to Ann Hause, director for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance, the county added that “the variances are approved for the same time frame as the Safer at Home Order, which currently is set to expire on May 26. (State officials) will communicate how (they) intend to treat those variances after May 26 shortly, as (they) do not want counties reapplying for the same variance to be effective on May 27.”

So until further notice, the following guidelines remain active.

Individuals and families should:

• Continue staying at home to the greatest extent possible and only travel for essential activities.

• Stay within 10 miles of home or inside your primary county of residence when recreating.

• Only participate in solo recreation or recreation that involves just your household members.

• Limit gatherings to less than 10 people, including graduation parties.

• Travel should be for essential activities only, not leisure or vacation.

• Practice best personal hygiene practices (wash hands, cover coughs, do not touch your face, stay home if you are sick).

• Campgrounds, picnic areas, and playgrounds are closed except for Colorado Parks and Wildlife campgrounds

For businesses and lodging:

• Retail, personal services and other businesses can be open with strict social distancing and cleaning requirements.

• Restaurants shall remain closed to on-premises consumption (take-out and delivery is permitted).

• On-premise drinking establishments such as bars, brew pubs, wineries and tasting rooms) shall remain closed.

• Short-term lodging, such as vacation-style rentals, VRBOs, Airbnbs, cabins and hotels/motels are closed for leisure stays. Many people live in hotels and some essential workers require use of them, so they are continuing to operate as critical. Longer term stays, where an individual is using the space as a residence rather than a short-term accommodation, is not restricted.

“We understand that we cannot enforce who is staying at hotels and that some people may be using them to recreate outside of their communities,” the county acknowledged. “However, the intent behind restricting short-term, vacation-style rentals is to encourage compliance with not recreating more than 10 miles from your home.”

The state’s safer at home order banning short-term lodging does not expire until May 26.

For questions regarding Grand County’s COVID-19 response, call 970-725-3803 or email jicgrandcounty@gmail.com.


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