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Since the first Summit County Public Health Order was signed by the Public Health Director on March 17, 2020, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has continued to respond to the numerous complaints from the public about violations.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 29, 2020
Contact: Erin Opsahl
SHERIFF’S OFFICE RESPONDS TO CITIZEN QUESTIONS ABOUT PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER VIOLATIONS
SUMMIT COUNTY, CO – Since the first Summit County Public Health Order was signed by the Public Health Director on March 17, 2020, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has continued to respond to the numerous complaints from the public about violations. Summit County’s Public Health Order remains more restrictive in certain areas than Governor Polis’s Order.
The public has become the eyes and ears of the social community enforcement and has submitted complaints about out-of-state license plates parked at trailhead parking lots, second homeowners staying in their homes, groups of people congregating over the allowable limit, and most recently complaints about face coverings not being worn. Enforcement of public health orders is a relatively unfamiliar area of law and there exists some disagreement about the best way to obtain compliance without enforcement.
Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said, “Deputies arresting members of the public and taking them to Jail and then scheduling the person to see a Judge does not seem to be the best approach.”
Sheriff FitzSimons reached out to other Colorado Sheriff’s and borrowed from other Counties experience to develop a public health violation notice to cease and desist in collaboration with the Summit County Government Attorney’s Office and Public Health Director. This violation notice has been used as a first step in written notification of a violation of the public health order. The Sheriff and Chiefs of Police agreed to a uniform process across the county to respond to citizen complaints about the public health order. Deputies and Town Police Officers responding to public health violations have encountered respectful members of the public who have been open to being educated and changing their behavior.
Since April 1, 2020 a total of 72 public health order complaints have been responded to county-wide and 2 Public Health Notices to Cease and Desist have been issued. Further, no follow up citations were issued in connection with the 2 Public Health Notices given. One Public Health Notice was issued in connection with a short-term rental and the second one was in connection with a social distancing complaint for a gathering of more than 10 people together. Where an existing law is clear, Deputies have been directed to monitor trailhead parking lots and to strictly enforce the parking violations on County Roads.
Sheriff FitzSimons stated, “Our contacts with the public are overall positive. Our in-person response across the county has provided an opportunity for deputies to further educate people on the Public Health Order.”
If you would like more information about the Public Health Order call (970) 668-9730 or send an email with your question to COVIDQuestions@summitcountyco.gov.