Colorado’s resort counties trying to adopt uniform summer COVID restrictions
Officials in Pitkin County talking with peers about best practices
Pitkin County officials have been meeting with their counterparts from other rural resort communities to try to figure out a uniform plan for COVID-19 restrictions after state-mandated restrictions become voluntary later this month, an official said Tuesday.
The state is expected to make the color-coded COVID-19 Dial restrictions for counties voluntary April 16, with two likely exceptions, Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said. Those exceptions are expected to include maintaining limits on indoor, high-risk environments at 50% capacity and no more than 500 people, and having a “snapback” provision to put dial requirements back in place if local hospital capacity exceeds an established threshold, he said.
Beyond those two exceptions, counties will be able to adopt COVID-19 Dial restrictions or not as they see fit after April 16, Peacock said.
But in order to avoid different patchwork restrictions in each rural resort county — which are generally experiencing higher COVID incidence and variant rates than other counties — officials from those areas are discussing adopting similar rules to make it easier on visitors.
The first idea is to adopt the current Dial restrictions through May 27, which has garnered some support within rural resort communities, he said. Then, post-May 27 (which starts Memorial Day Weekend), resort communities would move away from capacity limits currently outlined in the Dial restrictions while at the same time continuing to emphasize protective measures like wearing facemasks, encouraging social distancing between different households and requiring event safety plans, Peacock said.
Resort communities also would allow transit providers to make their own rules about utilizing those protective measures, he said.
Members of the Pitkin County Board of Health are expected to discuss those proposed changes at their meeting Thursday afternoon.
Another concern among resort communities are vaccine passports, Peacock said. Counties want to avoid different passport rules for each county and would prefer such a mandate to come from the state or federal authorities. The state is looking at a vaccine passport program, he said.
In other COVID-related news Tuesday:
• COVID-19 case counts are gradually coming down in Pitkin County, though state-reported numbers do not yet indicate that a move back to Yellow level restrictions is imminent, Peacock said.
Pitkin County must have seven consecutive days within Yellow levels – a seven-day case count of 90 or less and a positivity rate of 7.5% or less – before the state will move the county from Orange to Yellow.
But according to state-reported numbers, the county’s seven-day case count has been under 90 only since Saturday, he said. In addition, the local positivity rate remains high and has been hovering around 9% for most of the past 10 days, according to state-reported metrics.
• Pitkin County received 1,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, which will be doled out to residents 18 years old and older at a vaccination clinic Friday. The county ordered 3,500 J&J doses, according to spokeswoman Tracy Trulove.
Pitkin County also received 110 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 264 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, though those will be used for second doses, Trulove said in an email Monday.
Friday’s clinic at the Benedict Music Tent parking lot will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. An appointment is required for anyone going to the clinic. To register for an appointment and for more information, go to covid19.pitkincounty.com.
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