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Governor’s stay home order in line with local officials’ recommendations

Prior to Gov. Jared Polis’ stay at home order, Grand County officials were already telling people to stay home with large crowds gathering at popular spots, such as Berthoud Pass.

In its countywide COVID-19 update Wednesday, the Grand County Public Health department issued a stay at home advisory asking residents to only go out for essential needs and work.

“The more we self-quarantine physically, the better we will be able to fend off the virus in our communities,” the department warned.

Local officials didn’t stop there and told tourists that Grand County is not a safe haven from COVID-19. Granby Mayor Paul Chavoustie echoed the message when addressing the community during a town council meeting Tuesday.

“This is a time where we need to protect the community,” Chavoustie said. “I’m for keeping the businesses open that are open and that want to stay open. That’s my goal. It’s more of sending a message to people.”

Winter Park Mayor Jimmy Lahrman took the sentiment a step further as he urged the Grand County commissioners to act on the matter.

“Before we overwhelm our medical facilities, I think it would be prudent to send a message to stay at home, shelter in place, don’t come up to Grand County, don’t be irresponsible,” Lahrman said.

He cited Winter Park Resort’s closure of uphill access as a responsible move and urged residents not to gather in groups and take social distancing recommendations seriously.

Winter Park Resort, along with several ski areas in Summit County, closed uphill access to the mountains after concerns about gathering crowds and straining resources.

Grand County currently only has three emergency departments and 17 beds between its medical providers, according to public health officials.

The department has credited social distancing for keeping the number of positive COVID-19 tests in Grand County low. Only two positive cases have been confirmed since March 7, but the number of tests performed also remains low.

On Wednesday, Polis issued a stay-at-home order after the number of deaths in Colorado jumped up to 19. The order went into effect Thursday and lasts through April 11.

Reporter Amy Golden contributed to this story.


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