Thursday, May 21, 2020

Grand County opens for business..sort of

Grand County opens for business...sort of. The economy should improve as tourists and visitors return. Many restrictions still remain, but the situation is changing weekly. One of Grand County's greatest assets is that it has not been hit hard by the virus...only 5 confirmed cases and no deaths..yet until late May. . Within that short period of time, thanks to the influx of mask shunning, group gathering visitors, who did not respect the safer at home state rules, as well as some locals, we are close to tripling the number of cases. Two weeks after the large number of visitors on Memorial Day weekend, Grand County will no longer be safe from the virus place. even though most of the  15,000 residents have practiced social distancing and mask-wearing. The county does not have a testing program that could determine what the infection or immunity rate is in the community itself since only those tested have had symptoms. So much depends upon how compliant tourists are with distancing and mask-wearing will be...and businesses that look like they are relatively safe for tourists and residents to patronize will be the ones that succeed. The bad news is that the stay at home orders and peak infections occurred just before springs skiing season and before then the county was enjoying a very good season. The good news is that the normal dormant business season we call mud season happened in April and May.. Businesses and restaurants always go into hibernation during those months and plan for it. Timing is everything.  Summer tourism is mostly outside, camping, and activities, where transmission of COVID 19 is less likely to happen. The problem will be in close contact businesses, restaurants, bars, convenience and large grocery stores.  This does mean not everyone's winter season businesses will carry them to the summer season and those struggling before COVID will be even more dependent on federal support and local non-profit support.  Colorado's Sen. Bennet has proposed a new program to help small and medium businesses and to protect paychecks for their employees. https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/5/bennet-young-announce-major-new-proposals-to-support-hardest-hit-small-and-mid-sized-businesses

For current County rules  https://www.co.grand.co.us/COVID19
5/20/update:  The County has applied for variances with the state to the Safer at Home rules. Until those are approved,  the current rules stay in place: For more about rules applying to both business and individuals in place.  Some rules expire on May 26. https://winterparktimes.com/outdoors/usfs-officials-announce-temporary-restrictions-will-remain-in-effect-through-may-31/

From the Grand County web site:

  • "Campgrounds, picnic areas, and playgrounds are closed. (except for Colorado Parks and Wildlife campgrounds)

Businesses/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 (bars, brew pubs, wineries, tasting rooms) shall remain CLOSED.
  • Short-term lodging, such as vacation-style rentals, VRBOs, Airbnbs, cabins and hotels/motels are CLOSED FOR LEISURE STAYS
While Grand County’s Short-term Lodging Order ends on May 22, the State’s Safer at Home Order does not expire until May 26.  Please read the note above regarding the booking of hotel/motel rooms for essential personnel ONLY.
For questions regarding Grand County’s COVID-19 response please call 970-725-3803 or email jicgrandcounty@gmail.com. Information regarding the County’s variance request status will be posted here."

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