Grand County’s variance request still in limbo |

Grand County’s variance request still in limbo

During a countywide update on the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, officials noted they had not yet heard back from the state about the variance request Grand County sent in last week.

Brad White, the COVID-19 incident manager, told commissioners he expects a response from the state within 48-72 hours. So far, the state has approved variances for Cheyenne, Custer, Eagle, El Paso, Kit Carson, Mesa, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Sedgwick counties.

On May 12, Grand County’s commissioners approved a variance that outlined why an earlier reopening would be appropriate for the county, how it plans to reopen safely and a plan in case infections begin to increase. It was modeled after successful variances in Eagle and Mesa counties with the hope the state will approve it quickly.

If approved, one key precaution outlined in the county’s requested variance is the requirement of masks for employees and guests of reopened businesses, including restaurants, gyms, lodging and worship centers.

Guests would also be required to wear masks inside restaurants, except when sitting at their tables, and in the common areas of lodging, worship centers and gyms. Employees should be wearing masks at all times when they’re around guests or other employees.

The request includes several appendices laying out the safety measures each type of business should take to reopen, including increasing sanitation and implementing social distancing.

Restaurants would be allowed to open for in-person dining so long as six feet can be maintained between parties, and guests and employees must work to limit exposure.

Bars, breweries, wine tasting rooms and distilleries will remain closed to in-person dining.

Lodging businesses will be allowed to open at full capacity, but would be required to have a 72-hour waiting period between lodging guests in the same room or rental. The businesses must still maintain social distancing and mask wearing in common areas.

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