Jun 2, 2020 -- Posted by : goi70

After 12 long weeks, Colorado’s mountain towns are slowly and cautiously beginning to reopen. That is the official message, though through this challenging time, tourism bureaus and town administrations are having to balance economic burdens with what is still a tangible health risk. Please head up to the mountains with your wallet open and your face masked – everyone is happy to have you!

On Monday of this week, Governor Polis transitioned the state to a Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors order. This Executive Order, and the resulting Public Health Order through CDPHE, effectively reopened many state entities that had remained closed since mid-March. The Order dictates that while vulnerable individuals should still aim to avoid as much social contact as possible, all Coloradans are now encouraged to *responsibly* (masks and social distancing required) enjoy all outdoor activities in Colorado’s parks and open spaces. In addition, the Order also allows for in-person instruction of certain educational activities, the opening of ‘non-critical’ retail to operate and invite clients onto their premises (while adhering to strict compliance with social distancing), and the opening of places of accommodation and food/beverage entities to offer outside and limited indoor dining. Additionally playgrounds, swimming pools, and some summer camps will begin reopening, as well as places of worship, recreational/outdoor sports services, and short term rentals.

“It may feel like we are getting back to normal,” said Polis, “but the virus is still here and it could surge the moment we let our guard down. We are still far from normal. Coloradans have to remain diligent and must continue staying away from others as much as possible, wearing masks when we leave the house and washing our hands.”

While we are not yet in the clear, many are relieved by this progression and what hopefully could signal the end of this difficult period. According to Colorado Tourism Director, Cathy Ritter, travelers from mid-March through early-May spent $830 million compared to $3.9 billion this past year. As of June 1, most closures on campgrounds, hiking trails, national parks, and scenic drives have been lifted.

In trying to attract an amplified degree of local investment from their vacation home owners, the Vail Valley Partnership has begun promoting a (vetted and approved by local health officials) ‘Welcome Home’ campaign that aims at encouraging retired vacation home owners to spend their entire summers as locals in their high country towns. Telluride and Aspen are both planning and promoting similar strategies. 

The week of June 1 marks a major turning point, as businesses and hotels reopen all through Clear Creek, Summit, Gunnison, and Pitkin County. In addition, Kebler, Cottonwood, Guanella Pass, and Trail Ridge Road are now all open – and Rocky Mountain National Park reopens with timed entry beginning on Thursday, June 4. To encourage an enhanced degree of social distancing, Main Street in Breckenridge and Miner Street in Idaho Springs are both closed to vehicles, and will become pedestrian plazas – allowing restaurants and shops to welcome customers to sit at tables and peruse items placed in the street. The I-70 Coalition is excited and supportive of this innovative move!

It has been a long road and while we are not yet in the clear, we are hopeful. Please enjoy the mountains safely and responsibly. We’ll see you soon!


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