Summit County Emergency Blog

Emergency blog
Activated during disasters and emergencies to provide critical public information. Administered by the Summit County Office of Emergency Management.

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Mar 20

Summit County Coronovirus Public-Health Order for Everyday People

Posted on March 20, 2020 at 12:57 PM by Julie Sutor

To help you understand what the Summit County public-health order means, here are some guidelines:

  • No public gatherings. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has ordered no congregations of groups larger than 10; we recommend avoiding face-to-face interactions with anyone outside your immediate household, period.

no group gathering              

  • Grocery stores, gas stations, post offices, banks, hardware stores, pet shops, liquor stores and pharmacies are allowed to remain open. You should minimize your trips to these establishments as much as possible, limit your time in proximity with others and do not linger inside.
  • General retail stores, restaurants and bars are closed. The exception is if a food or other retail establishment offers drive-up or drive-through service. It’s recommended that you pay with a credit card, either online or verbally, to limit the handing off of items. Online shopping is a great way to receive goods for the time being. Many local merchants offer this service. Call or check out their websites. These businesses are struggling in this environment, so please consider tipping when appropriate and supporting their efforts.


  • Lodging and transit services are closed. Recreation centers, gyms, salons, and spas and libraries are closed. Ski areas are closed. Schools are closed. Sporting events have been cancelled. Remember: This is not a vacation for everyone while we weather this storm. The intention of this order is to remain hunkered down, inside your own home to the extent possible, limiting all personal contact with the rest of the community. Parents should even avoid setting up playdates for their kids.
  • Social interactions: If you must have a face-to-face encounter with someone, do not shake hands or hug, maintain at least six feet between people and limit the time in proximity. Walking your dog alone is not a problem; hanging out at the dog park chatting in groups with other pet owners can allow spread of the virus. Telephone and online communications are great – we’re aware of some groups of friends who even have been enjoying virtual happy hours via video from their own homes.

virtual happy hour

  • Travel outside Summit County is highly discouraged, as is travel to Summit County. Even incidental encounters could promote the spread of this virus.
  • Wash your hands. We cannot emphasize this enough. Wash your hands before touching common surfaces, wash your hands after touching them. Use soap and water and scrub. Hand sanitizer is not a complete substitute.

Please adhere to the spirit of this order, even if the specifics of every situation are not spelled out. If, for example, construction workers can do their jobs without being shoulder to shoulder or face to face, fine; but if their work keeps them in close quarters with each other, it’s best to figure out another option.

This virus is serious. It has killed thousands of people worldwide. Even if you are young and otherwise healthy and the virus doesn’t make you very sick, spreading it puts others in peril. This requires a community-wide approach.

We implore everyone to adhere to this guidance, and we ask that the honor system be employed. We have the authority to fine or even jail violators, but no one wants to see that happen.

We’re in this for the long haul. Best-case scenario, if we all are diligent and disciplined, we can short-circuit the spread of this virus in three weeks. But even a single breach can mean creating a new cluster of infected people, with the waves of spread rippling out throughout the community again and setting us back weeks or even months. It will be easy as the days and weeks pass to let down your guard or become lackadaisical with this guidance. Remain focused and use good judgment. This applies to each of us, including you. Don’t be that person!