Aspen declares state of emergency; events canceled, postponed throughout Roaring Fork Valley |

Aspen declares state of emergency; events canceled, postponed throughout Roaring Fork Valley

Multiple organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley are canceling and postponing events because of the coronavirus, while Aspen City Manager Sara Ott implemented a declaration of a local disaster emergency Thursday.

“This is a proactive measure to slow the potential spread, impacts and damage of COVID-19 and will assist the city of Aspen in securing regional, state and federal resources,” the city said in a news release. “Ten individuals in Aspen have tested positive for COVID-19.”

The Aspen City Council also has a special meeting scheduled at 3 p.m. Friday to extend the declaration past the seven days allowed under the city manager’s authority. City Hall remains open but the release urges “customers and residents who do not need to conduct business with the city in person to use email, phone and web-based communication.”

The city’s website is

Click here for an up-to-date list of closures and cancellations.

City closures currently being implemented included the following:

• Wheeler Opera House is closed until at least March 31. Thursday’s Paula Poundstone performance there also has been postponed until Dec. 27. Ticket holders unable to attend can contact Aspen Show Tix box office at 970-920-5770 for a full refund. Refund requests must be received no later than April 15.

• Aspen Recreation Center, Red Brick Gym, Aspen Ice Garden, the golf simulator at Aspen Golf Club and Red Brick Center for the Arts are closed until March 31 and those closures may be extended. As well, the Aspen Youth Center, a privately run nonprofit that operates from the ARC, is closed until at least March 31.

• Classes in the Aspen Recreation Center, Red Brick Gym and Red Brick Center for the Arts will not resume until April 15.

• Non-mandatory city advisory board and commissions will stop meeting through April 15.

• The city will be issuing no new event permits until April 15. The city will be re-evaluating event permits that have already been issued, which may be subject to further consideration.

“We are all in this together,” Mayor Torre said. “We know that preventative hygiene and minimizing social gatherings will significantly reduce the impacts long term in Aspen. I want the community to know how much the city of Aspen cares about our resiliency and strength. The short-term closures have only one goal in mind — to mitigate the possible spread of this disease and to try to avoid a longer-term risk. I am asking your cooperation in proactively implementing these measures.”

Any large gatherings in facilities not owned and operated by the city are under the purview and guidance of Pitkin County Public Health, the city said.

As of 9:45 p.m. Thursday, other closures and alterations include:

• Apres Ski Cocktail tweeted at 7:38 p.m., “After our latest round of meetings with the County/City/Mayor’s Office, and participating venues, we have been advised to postpone this year’s event to a date to be determined. We are looking to early May for an updated status as to new dates.” The event was scheduled through the weekend at participating venues throughout Aspen.

• Aspen Shortsfest, originally scheduled for March 31 through April 5, has been canceled because of the city’s emergency declaration and its main venue, the Wheeler, is closed.

The organization said it is considering a virtual presentation of the festival and will have updates on the matter. Those who purchased tickets in advance can contact the Wheeler Box Office for refund information at 970-920-5770 locally or toll-free at 866-449-0464.

“Our primary concern is the safety and wellness of our audiences, filmmakers and festival guests,” Shortsfest said. “This is a proactive measure to slow the potential spread, impacts, and damage of COVID-19 and will assist the city of Aspen in securing regional, state and federal resources.”

• Aspen Skiing Co. is keeping its lifts open, but has canceled such upcoming events as the Hi-Fi concerts, the Kick Aspen Big Air, NASTAR National Championships and the US Tech Championships. • The KDNK community radio concert and live remote broadcast with Pure Weed and Handshake Moments set for Friday at the Aspen Art Museum is canceled. The concert with Handshake Moments will still take place at the KDNK station in Carbondale as a live broadcast from 6 to 7 p.m., but is not open to the public.

• Jayne Gottlieb, owner of Aspen Shakti, sent out a blast email at 8:32 p.m. telling “students, friends and family” that its physical studio space would be temporarily closing immediately. “It is our intention to reopen our doors and welcome you all back in as soon as it safe to do so,” Gottlieb said, noting she plans to soon announce upcoming virtual offerings.

• The St. Patrick’s Dinner, which is hosted by St. Mary Catholic Church and set for March 17 at Bumps Restaurant, is canceled.

• Aspen Chapel has suspended all social gatherings until further notice, and will live stream its Sunday service while offering its weekly classes via Zoom. No in-person gatherings will be held. The live stream of Sunday’s service starts at 9:30 a.m. at Call 970-925-7184 or email for more details.

• Community Office for Resource Efficiency has canceled Thursday night’s public event called Imagine Climate: Building Resiliency in the Roaring Fork Valley. Additionally, the Tales of Water opening reception at Skye Gallery on Friday and DJ Spooky: Arctic Rhythms on March 18 have been canceled.

• The Aspen Historical Society has temporarily closed public access to the Wheeler/Stallard Museum and the archive building. It also has suspended its public tour schedule and has postponed upcoming events until further notice.

• The Aspen Thrift Shop is temporarily closed and is not accepting donations. “Many of our volunteers are in the at-risk population and/or taking care of those that are,” the nonprofit said. “Though we consistently make every effort to keep our shop clean, anyone familiar with the Thrift Shop understands it would be impossible to wipe and sanitize every item and surface.”

• Basalt Library has canceled programming that includes Saturday’s Winter Writing Workshop, the Roaring Fork Quilt Guild Gathering on Tuesday and the movie screening “The Mask You Live In” on March 21.

• The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has postponed next week’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

• Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue has suspended all fire and life safety inspections and community gatherings/meetings until further notice.

• Carbondale Arts has postponed the 12th annual Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza until Nov. 12 to 14, due to the recommendations of Garfield County Public Health.

“This decision comes with a heavy yet empathetic heart. We understand COVID-19 needs to be taken seriously and we feel for all of those around the world and locally who have already been affected by this virus,” the nonprofit said, adding that it hopes to bring back the event in November.

• 5Point Film has postponed the 5Point Adventure Film Festival 2020, scheduled for April 22 to 26 in Carbondale, to October 14 to 18. “The 2020 festival lineup of adventure short film programming, industry networking events and panel discussions, and community events, will replicate the original April schedule with no program changes expected,” the organization said, adding that “5Point anticipates monitoring the current CDC guidelines over the next few weeks, in order to make considerations around other event programming including the On The Road series in other communities across the country throughout the summer and fall as well as 5Point in Denver during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.”

• Challenge Aspen has canceled all remaining Winter REC and CAMO programs, lessons and retreats for the winter season.

“This decision came after much consideration, and with our single-minded focus on safety. Not just safety on the mountain, but safety for the health of everyone across our far-reaching family. The health and safety of our participants, staff, volunteers and professional instructors is our number one priority,” said Jeff Hauser, CEO of Challenge Aspen, a Snowmass Village-based nonprofit that works with disabled people to enjoy outdoor recreation.

• LIFT-UP Thrift Stores in Rifle and Parachute will be closed through March 18 so staff can help man the Food Pantries. Extended Table service in Rifle and Glenwood Springs is suspended until further notice while staff, partners and the community work on options. The Food Pantries are currently operating under regular hours, but are in need of additional volunteers in order to stay open for those in need. Visit website to volunteer and for updates on hours and closures.

• Belly Up Aspen nightclub said it is “temporarily pausing our operations,” noting that as “longtime members of this community, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our customers, employees and artists.”

• Bob Weir performances at Belly Up, which were scheduled March 29 and 30, as well as April 1, have been postponed. The new show dates are Oct. 7, 8 and 9.

• The Aspen Art Museum will be closed through March 31, according to spokesperson KristinAnn Janishefski, who added “we will reassess as new information becomes available.”

Event closures and cancellations related to coronavirus can be sent to

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