Residents fret over lodging violations amid county, state orders
Three weeks after Grand County set up an online form for reporting violations of the state and county’s public health orders, short-term rentals and lodging in general are generating most of the complaints.
Through an open records request, the Sky-Hi News obtained 12 complaints submitted online via the county’s portal for reporting violations of the state and county public health orders.
Of the complaints obtained, two thirds related to lodging or short-term rentals across Winter Park, Fraser, Granby and elsewhere. Some people simply reported that lodging was being advertised online, while others said they witnessed actual violations.
“We live full time above the violators,” one complaint in Winter Park said. “They are still here partying even.”
Grand County Public Health has restricted short-term lodging to essential workers only or for quarantine purposes, whether the lodging is camping, Airbnbs or hotels. Put in place April 2, the order remains in effect until at least April 30.
Evidence of the violations varied in the available reports. When asked who else might have witnessed a short-term rental violation, one report answered, “My entire street.”
Some of the reports may have come from self-isolating citizens who have extra time to search for advertising that does not comply with the county’s requirements. The county requires any running ads for short-term rentals to mention the rental is not available for the term of the order.
“I found it while browsing the internet in quarantine,” said one report about an ad for a Grand Lake rental.
Reports can be submitted via co.grand.co.us/violation, but law enforcement officials have said they will not investigate anonymous complaints or complaints with insufficient detail. The reports have been prioritized in order of their seriousness and the risk posed to people’s overall health and safety.
“Not all complaints will be investigated and, due to other demands and staffing challenges related to COVID-19, it is likely agencies will be unable to follow up on each complaint,” officials noted on the county’s reporting portal.
Other complaints the county has received include concerns over a man returning from an out of state vacation. Two reports referenced the man’s social media posts.
“He has posted on social media that he is not planning on isolating, but will ‘be careful,’” one said. “My concern is that he is coming from a hotspot into our small community with limited resources. These kinds of reckless actions could compromise our small community to a potential outbreak if he continues with his plans to not isolate.”
The two reports made it clear this man has a large social media following and many people voiced their concerns to remind him of the regulations. However, both said they didn’t believe the man intended to heed these warnings.
“This is very concerning to many people who have seen it!” said the other report.
Another complaint outlined concerns about the busyness on Granby’s main street, which the reporter thought was too busy for the statewide stay at home order.
Asked for evidence of a violation, the petitioner simply said: “Look at the d–n road.”
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