The great re-awakening
Polis to consider ski areas, restaurants May 25
Shrouded in unknowns, the timeline for re-opening some businesses in Colorado came into clearer view Tuesday. At a news conference, Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and said the state will begin to consider lifting closures on restaurants and ski areas May 25. It will also decide on that day if summer and day camps can open in June. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis, he said, based on infection rates and whether safer-at-home measures appear to be working to stop the spread.
“I’m sharing Colorado’s decision-making timeline and factors because I want to be as transparent as possible as to what the next few weeks will look like,” Polis said. “We control our own destiny, and our decisions will depend on what the data is telling us about how people are succeeding at wearing masks and staying apart.”
Polis said he expects to have more data on safer-at-home measures, which were instituted May 8, in coming weeks. He pointed out that the May 25 date does not reflect when businesses may or may not open, only when the state expects to have enough information to inform a decision.
“If folks are doing a good job at social distancing, staying at home, and wearing masks or facial coverings when going out, it will show up in the data, and we will excitedly remove additional restrictions,” he said. “If not, some communities could be forced to look at implementing additional temporary restrictions.”
With the decision to open ski resorts for spring skiing, he said the county where the resort is located will have the final say.
In addition to ski areas and restaurants, after June 1, the state expects to phase in openings of other public offerings like summer activities and libraries.
In making the decision on whether a place can re-open safely, a number of criteria will be considered:
• Level of suppression of the virus;
• Ability to conduct testing and containment;
• Risks to vulnerable populations;
• Capacity of the health care system to handle a surge;
• Risk level vs. societal/economic/psychological benefit;
• Sustainability of policy.
In other good news, Polis announced that this week, Coloradans can begin booking campsites at state parks. Campers must observe social distance and sanitation guidelines and will only be allowed by making advance reservations at cpwshop.com. Again, counties will have the last say in whether or not to open campgrounds and campers are encouraged to stay closer to home.
Regionally, Mancos State Park opened for camping May 12, and Navajo and Ridgeway state parks will open Fri., May 15.
Also at the conference, Polis acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color in the state, as well as the nation. In an effort to respond to the needs of all residents, the state is asking people to fill out a survey on their top concerns regarding COVID-19 and racial disparity. To fill out the survey, go to covid19.colorado.gov and click on “COVID-19 in Colorado” and then “health equity response team.” Responses will be anonymous.
For more information, go to Colorado SaferAtHome.com.