Breckenridge council considers total shutdown of town businesses
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information about the Breckenridge Town Council meeting on Monday.
BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge Town Council met Sunday to discuss its response to COVID-19, and several council members advocated for a townwide shutdown, including local bars and restaurants.
Council members were particularly concerned about the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday Tuesday. Council member Erin Gigliello pointed out that local restaurants and bars still were advertising for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“I don’t feel right with it,” Gigliello said. “We’re just allowing it. We’re welcoming it, and we’re not telling people it’s not OK right now.”
Mayor Eric Mamula, who closed his restaurant Downstairs at Eric’s on Sunday, advocated for voluntary shutdowns and suggested incentivizing businesses to close by allowing them to keep their sales tax revenue. Gigliello countered that if some restaurants close and others stay open, it could push more people into fewer restaurants.
The possibility of a curfew also was brought up as an option to curb social activity.
Council members Gary Gallagher, Kelly Owens, Wendy Wolfe and Gigliello were strongly in favor of a townwide shutdown. Wolfe said it was time to “crack down” and said Breckenridge must be a leader during the outbreak.
“If we shut down here, will we save lives?” Owens asked. “Although I agree that it’s not perfect, I think that we could save lives by shutting down.”
Jeffrey Bergeron said he could be “talked into” shutting the town down within the next 24 hours. Dick Carleton said the strongest message needs to be to the lodging community to encourage people to leave town.
Council members decided to reconvene at 2 p.m. Monday after meeting with local lodging and restaurant associations. A live link to the meeting will be posted at TownOfBreckenridge.com and on the Breckenridge Facebook page. The meeting will not be open to the public. Questions, thoughts and concerns can be sent to council at firstname.lastname@example.org before 2 p.m.
Across Summit County, all public facilities already are closed to the public, and Breckenridge Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes said the town would close Carter Park after residents gathered there Sunday to go sledding.
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