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Colorado’s resort counties are trying to adopt uniform summer restrictions

Officials in Pitkin County are talking with peers about best practices

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times
Masked pedestrians walk through the walking mall on Hyman Avenue in Aspen on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN — Pitkin County officials have been meeting with their counterparts from other rural resort communities to try to figure out a uniform plan for COVID-19 restrictions after state-mandated restrictions become voluntary later this month, an official said Tuesday.

The state is expected to make the color-coded COVID-19 dial restrictions voluntary for counties beginning April 16, with two likely exceptions, Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said. Those exceptions are expected to include maintaining limits on indoor, high-risk environments at 50% capacity and no more than 500 people, and having a “snapback” provision to put dial requirements back in place if local hospital capacity exceeds an established threshold, he said.

Beyond those two exceptions, counties will be able to adopt COVID-19 dial restrictions or not as they see fit after April 16, Peacock said.



But in order to avoid different patchwork restrictions in each rural resort county — which are generally experiencing higher COVID-19 incidence rates than other counties — officials from those areas are discussing adopting similar rules to make it easier on visitors.

The first idea is to adopt the current dial restrictions through May 27, which has garnered some support within rural resort communities, he said. After May 27 (which starts Memorial Day weekend), resort communities would move away from capacity limits outlined in the state dial while continuing to emphasize protective measures like wearing face masks, encouraging physical distancing between different households and requiring event safety plans, Peacock said.



Resort communities also would allow transit providers to make their own rules about using those protective measures, he said.

Members of the Pitkin County Board of Health are expected to discuss those proposed changes at a meeting later this week.

Another concern among resort communities is vaccine passports, Peacock said. Officials want to avoid different passport rules for each county and would prefer such a mandate to come from the state authorities. The state is looking at a vaccine passport program, he said.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said this week that the federal government will not require vaccine passports.


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