Nov 17, 2020 -- Posted by : goi70

On Tuesday of this week, Governor Polis hosted a press conference to announce plans to move 15 of Colorado’s counties to a status of COVID-19 ‘Code Red,’ beginning on Friday, 11/20. Included in this list is Summit County – home to the majority of I-70’s ski resorts (and 4 of 5 resorts that are currently open in Colorado). Code Red is a newly added level to the COVID-19 dial that Colorado’s Department of Public Health and the Environment has been using since late August.

Code Red indicates “severe risk,” and the status is invoked when local COVID-19 tests reach a positivity rate that is greater than 15%, when there is a case rate that exceeds 350 cases per 100,000 residents, or when there are more than two COVID-19 hospitalizations a day. As of Tuesday afternoon, Summit County is reporting 1,117 cases per 100,000 residents over a 14 day rolling period, however there are signs of good news, as the county’s positivity rate has been decreasing, and currently sits at 13.9% (although this could be a result of increased testing volume and availability). Code Red is the 5th most serious out of 6 total levels; the most serious being a ‘Code Purple,’ that denotes “extreme risk” and would require devastating lockdown conditions and a suspension of ski resort operation, similar to those imposed beginning in March of this year.

Code Red Impacts:

·       All restaurants are required to close for indoor dining. Outdoor dining is still allowed for single-households though larger groups are not allowed. Local restaurants can still be supported through takeout or gift cards. Last call is moving to 8pm

·       Gyms can remain open but capacity is reduced to 10% with reservations required

·       Places of worship, retail, and personal services are down to 25% indoor capacity, with an increase in curbside pickup and delivery for retail, and the designation of ‘special hours’ for seniors and other high-risk groups

·       In person learning for pre-school through 5th grade is still encouraged, while Middle School, High School, and college are encouraged to transition to remote

Ski Resorts:

While a Code Red will impact indoor dining and capacity, facilities essential for health and safety (such as restrooms, etc.) will remain open, and on-mountain operations will not be impacted. However, the Summit County Public Health Board is considering additional restrictions for short-term lodging and skier facilities. As Summit County Commissioner, Karn Stiegelmeier explained to the Summit Daily, “It doesn’t make sense to impose on all of our small businesses, reduce capacity, reduce services, and then have an extra 70,000 people in our ski areas – so we are looking at what policies might be appropriate there.”

The Code Red was triggered by an escalating COVID-19 situation statewide and is a last ditch effort to avoid a Stay at Home Order. “Most people are doing their part” said Polis “But the truth is, seeing this exponential growth, we clearly need a more drastic shift in behavior to further slow the transmission of the virus.” This is a dire situation that requires accommodation and safety to protect those most at-risk, especially as Summit County expects a significant bump in visitors during next week’s Thanksgiving holiday.  


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