Vail Valley’s reopening will be slow, cautious

Scott Miller
Vail Daily
Downtown Eagle
Vail Daily file

Kacee Picot will be happy to reopen, but it’s going to take some time.

Picot owns C Kacee Go, a salon in Avon. Salons, and most other businesses in Colorado, have been shut down for several weeks as state and local health officials try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Those closures will start to ease as of Monday.

A more-strict order in Eagle County, originally set to expire April 30, has been lifted a few days early.

Picot said the early easing of restrictions came as something of a surprise. And, she said, she expects to reopen May 1, a few days after the restrictions are loosened.

“I was actually expecting two more weeks (of shutdown),” Picot said.

Picot and her boyfriend both had and survived COVID-19 in mid-March. She knows several of the locals who have so far died of the virus.

Masks, gloves and space

That experience makes her keenly aware of the need for cleanliness, mask-wearing and other steps.

Picot’s Avon shop has two chairs, and they’re well separated. Only one person per chair will be the new rule, and the outside doors will be locked to eliminate walk-in traffic. Both stylists and clients will wear masks at all times, and gloves are available for those who want them.

Masks and gloves are both available and have been ordered, and disposable capes are on the way.

People who style hair and do nails are, by definition, in a close-up business.

But massage therapists get even closer to their clients.

Tom Shaheen is the sole proprietor of Elevations Therapeutic Bodywork in Avon. Shaheen said he’d be “a little concerned” about opening.

In fact, that won’t happen. Shortly after a Thursday phone conversation Shaheen sent an image from an industry group, the Golden-based Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. That group informed its members that massage and cosmetology services won’t reopen April 27.

Shaheen said at the moment he’s aiming to reopen in June.

“Thank goodness I don’t have any employees,” Shaheen said.

What about golf?

The relaxed restrictions also apply to outdoor recreation. That means golf courses and tennis courts.

Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Reitmann said he and other town officials are now working on ways to reopen the golf course, as well as the town’s shooting sports and motorsports parks.

While the new rules haven’t yet been finalized — and the facilities won’t reopen until new rules are in place — Reitmann said he’ll be pleased when that happens.

“I see the value in getting managed recreation areas open,” Rietmann said. “It’ll be great peace of mind.” Residents who can get out can find some satisfaction and sense of well-being from getting out of their homes, he added.

“I’m really looking forward to getting the gun range open,” Rietmann added. “It’s a safe place for people to shoot as we move into drier weather.”

Other courses and managed recreation facilities are also taking a measured approach.

In an email, Jessie Klefoth of the Vail Recreation District wrote that the district hasn’t yet seen any modified public health orders.

“What I can tell you is that our staff has been working very hard on a number of different scenarios and protocols on how we could reopen facilities and start reprogramming.”

Klefoth added that the district is currently drafting new operational public safety protocols for each of its facilities and programs. Those protocols will be submitted to public health officials for approval.

No matter how facilities and businesses start to reopen, there’s going to be a lot of caution in the first days and weeks.

In an email, Mountain Recreation Executive Director Janet Bartnik wrote that whatever reopening looks like, “access will be different from what it was before we closed.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at