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Restaurants, private transportation services and ski areas are allowed to open May 27; hotels, motels and campgrounds June 1; all must ensure strict physical distancing
Contact: Julie Sutor, Director of Communications
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County issued an amended local public health order Tuesday evening, allowing the opening of Summit County restaurants, alpine ski areas and lodging businesses. The new order, effective 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, May 27, aligns with guidance from the Governor’s Office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
"We are feeling confident about moving forward with a number of the activities and businesses that define our community," Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. "We’re grateful to all the residents and visitors who have had a part in getting us to this point. Everyone has really pulled together by physically distancing, wearing face coverings in public, washing their hands and staying home when sick. These small actions, conducted every single day by thousands of people, are making a big difference."
Local restaurants are permitted to open effective May 27, with strict physical distancing measures and reduced capacity. Ski areas may also open on May 27, with strict physical distancing measures and a vastly reduced capacity, managed through a reservation system. Lodging businesses, including hotels, motels and campgrounds, may open beginning June 1. Short-term lodging accommodation rentals of 30 days or less (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO, timeshares, RV parks bed and breakfasts, condo-tels, lodges and retreats) remain prohibited by the State of Colorado.
Summit County submitted a request for a variance to the state public health orders on Friday, May 15. The request outlined the County’s desire to reopen lodging and restaurants with strict precautions and physical distancing measures. The County submitted an appendix to the request on May 21, asking for permission to open the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, with strict precautions and substantial limits on daily skier numbers.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment denied the variance request, citing COVID-19 case data in Summit County. Upon close examination of the state’s data, Summit County Public Health identified several errors, including residents of other counties and duplicate cases. Summit County is working with CDPHE to correct the errors, in hopes that the state will approve the variance request. Such an approval would primarily affect short-term rentals, since Colorado Governor Jared Polis approved the limited opening of restaurants statewide, effective May 27.
Since mid-March, restaurants have been closed to dine-in activity on restaurant property. The new local public health order adopts the new State of Colorado requirements and allowances, including allowing patrons to dine indoors on restaurant premises at a maximum capacity of 50 percent of an establishment’s posted occupancy code limit. For both indoor and outdoor seating, restaurants must ensure a minimum of 6 feet between patrons in different parties.
The Summit County Public Health Order requires patrons to wear face coverings whenever they are not eating or drinking. Group sizes are limited to eight, and reservations are strongly recommended, in order to reduce the likelihood of crowding at restaurant entries. All staff are required to wear face coverings and must be screened for symptoms of illness.
The new local public health order allows for the operation of a variety of transportation services, including all transportation services open to the public (e.g., Summit Stage, Breckenridge Free Ride), mountain shuttle services (e.g., Colorado Mountain Express, Peak 1 Express) and ride-sharing services (e.g., Uber, Lyft). All transportation services riders and operators must wear face coverings at all times and maintain physical distancing to the maximum extent possible. The number of riders on Summit Stage and Breck Free Ride buses is limited to 20 percent of any given bus’s maximum capacity.
The local order allows the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to open for alpine skiing, effective May 27. All other local alpine ski areas may open for downhill skiing as well, pending approval of an operations plan that ensures physical distancing and other protective measures.
In close consultation with Summit County Public Health, A-Basin developed and submitted a detailed operations plan – the Arapahoe Basin COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan – to protect against the spread of disease. The plan contains comprehensive pandemic-specific precautions and procedures related to reservations, ticketing, chairlift mazes, lift access, base area services, parking, sanitation of high-touch surfaces, retail operations, physical-distancing enforcement, signage, emergency response and employee training, PPE and symptom screening. All guests will be required to read and acknowledge the Arapahoe Basin COVID-19 policies and procedures.
A-Basin may host a maximum of 600 skiers per day, and the limit on skiers must be administered through an advance reservation system. The number of daily allowable skiers may be adjusted downward if physical distancing requirements cannot be met within the ski area boundary, including in parking lots, guest facilities and base areas.
The local order allows short-term lodging (with the exception of short-term rentals, which remain prohibited by the State) to begin operating on June 1, in accordance with the requirements contained in Appendix 1 of the order. Lodging businesses are required to place signage throughout the property to instruct guests and staff on proper physical distancing and wearing of face coverings when in common areas, such as lobbies and hallways. Staff must be screened daily for symptoms of illness.
All lodging businesses are required to discontinue housekeeping services during guest stays, supply a complete change of towels and linens, provide guests with sanitation wipes or solutions and ensure that all high-touch surfaces are completely disinfected between guests. Summit County encourages lodging businesses to wait at least 24 hours after guest departure before allowing staff to enter a room and to provide for at least 72 hours between guests in a given room or rental property.
The local public health order encourages all Summit County residents, visitors and workers to adopt the Five Commitments of Containment to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 in Summit County: