State grants variances for GarCo churches, gyms, eateries to open at half-capacity

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Restaurants, fitness facilities and gyms can immediately reopen at half capacity after the state approved a variance request Saturday from Garfield County.

In a news release, the county states businesses must still meet social distancing requirements as detailed in the variance requests: restaurants; places of worship; fitness facilities; recreation; outfitters.

“If a restaurant, house of worship, fitness facility, gym, outdoor recreation or outfitter business would like to take advantage of the new variance, they need to submit a Garfield County business social distancing form,” said Carrie Godes, Garfield County Public Health Specialist, in an email Sunday. “Even if they have previously submitted a social distancing form, the variance requires that they resubmit a new form agreeing to the new social distancing recommendations and guidance required.”

Retail businesses that were already allowed to reopen do not need to resubmit social distancing plans as the variance does not apply to them.

Instead, those retail businesses can continue to operate as they have been.

Additionally, businesses do not need to wait to hear back from county public health concerning their submitted social distancing plans in order to reopen.

According to Godes, Garfield County Public Health will review their plans and only be in contact if there are any additional questions.

Social distancing forms for those businesses can be filled out and submitted at

“After submitting a new form, each business should print their plan and display a copy of completion,” Godes said.

Five of six variance requests were granted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The only request not granted was to reopen large tourist attractions, such as the hot springs and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

“The request to reopen large tourist attractions was not approved, but will be re-evaluated June 1,” the release states.

Jessica and Kevin Grenier, who co-own Anytime Fitness just south of Glenwood Springs, said they were looking forward to reopening their gym possibly as early as midnight Monday after being closed for more than two months.

“We sent out an email notification to all of our members,” Kevin Grenier said. “We have lots of square footage, which makes social distancing very easy. We have a lot of room to spread out equipment.”

More information “will follow, with details to further clarify the approved variance in the next few days,” the release states.

For more information, contact Garfield County Public Health at 970-625-5200 extension 8120 or