Aspen, Pitkin County business will open on ‘rolling’ basis

High Q store manager Leah Thomas puts on a bandana and gloves for health safety before opening at noon in Snowmass Village Mall on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Each week for the next month, Pitkin County will allow a new group of businesses to open under guidelines meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

The schedule began Wednesday, with the opening of restaurants and lodging at 50% capacity. The next group of businesses will be allowed to open June 1, with those that follow coming each Monday in June, said Kara Silbernagel, who oversees projects for the county.

“Every week we will do these rolling openings,” she said.

The schedule for reopening, which is posted along with already available guidelines under the “COVID-19” section of Pitkin County’s website, so far looks like this:

• June 1 — Summer day camps, playgrounds, skate parks, outfitters and guides;

• June 8 — Gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, ice rinks, places of worship;

• June 15 — Movie theaters, performance theaters, and passenger capacity on public transport will be re-evaluated;

• June 22 — Events with up to 50 people will begin to be allowed with a permit from city or county authorities.

Sector-specific guidelines will be available to businesses on the Friday before the Monday they are allowed to open, Silbernagle said. Pitkin County’s “COVID-19” website contains clickable “guidelines by sector” buttons that will provide the information.

While Pitkin County’s state-sanctioned variance allowed group sizes up to 50 people, such gatherings will only be allowed by permit from the city of Aspen or Pitkin County. Such gatherings must also file a COVID-19 safety plan with Pitkin County Public Health, said County Manager Jon Peacock.

Informal gatherings of people must still be kept to 10 or fewer, he said.

The state of Colorado granted a variance to Pitkin County last weekend allowing officials to implement their own “Roadmap to Reopening.” County public health officials and business representatives have been coming up with the sector-specific opening guidelines, Silbernagel said.

The continued easing of public health order restrictions is contingent on a commitment by both residents and visitors alike to continue to make efforts to prevent spread of the virus, Peacock said.

That includes practicing good hygiene, observing social distancing protocols, wearing facemasks inside all publicly-accessible buildings and outside when within 6 feet of people for more than 10 minutes, he said. In addition, those with COVID-19 symptoms must isolate themselves, contact their doctor immediately and go to Aspen Valley Hospital to be tested, Peacock said.

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