Breckenridge asks grocery stores to manage capacity, commits to $1M in COVID-19 relief |

Breckenridge asks grocery stores to manage capacity, commits to $1M in COVID-19 relief

BRECKENRIDGE — The town of Breckenridge is working through plans for monetary relief for workers and businesses amid new coronavirus restrictions. The discussion was well-attended with 70 questions in the Zoom Q&A.

Among the topics discussed was an effort to quell crowding at the town’s main grocery store, City Market.

In level red, state guidelines allow 50% of capacity to be met at retail establishments, whether they’re critical or noncritical. Town Manager Rick Holman said that amounts to 267 people, including employees, at Breckenridge’s City Market. He added that the store requested that the town waive the plastic bag fee temporarily to help move people out the store as quickly as possible, noting that people bringing their own reusable bags takes extra time.

Council said they were willing to waive the fee if the store would provide messaging that limits shopping groups to one to two people and enforce its capacity limit.

“There’s extreme frustration with the locals,” council member Dick Carleton said. “I know last spring they did have somebody at the front door counting and telling people when they can go in, and I’d sure like to see that again.”

Mayor Eric Mamula said Holman will release a town manager’s order that will say the town will waive the bag fee under level red in exchange for the following:

  • Posting signage that indicates only one to two people per party are allowed in the store, excluding kids younger than 10
  • Monitoring the amount of people in the store through manual counting or an infrared system

Mamula also said he is concerned about a food infrastructure crisis as visitors continue to come to a town where restaurants are shut down for indoor dining. He said lodging bookings through the end of Thanksgiving are high, but there aren’t many places for people to eat, which could put additional strain on grocery stores.

The town also discussed relief efforts, committing to a relief package of about $1 million. Council discussed distributing the money to the Family & Intercultural Resource Center. The funds would offer help with child care, food and rent as well as support the business sector.

Mamula also suggested expanding the town’s employee appreciation voucher program, providing workers with vouchers to get takeout at local restaurants, supporting both parties.

Council member Jeffrey Bergeron agreed the town should support restaurants, saying workers wouldn’t have a place of employment to return to if they shut down. Carleton countered that supporting the workforce should be prioritized as town businesses can’t exist without employees.

Council member Kelly Owens made a case for child care, stating that the town should support the centers and its teachers, who are running short on paid leave due to quarantines.

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