Frisco, Dillon marinas set to open ahead of Memorial Day
DILLON — Summit County marinas are set to open for business.
Both Dillon and Frisco are planning to open their marinas to the public ahead of Memorial Day after successfully lobbying county officials to reclassify marinas, removing them from the “high-risk recreation” designation in the county’s COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery.
Both marinas will open boat ramps Friday, May 22, and will begin offering rentals Saturday, May 23. Both already have reservations on the books, and officials are confident the rollout of services can be done safely.
“Being at 9,000 feet and only having the ice off for a couple weeks, we’ve had a lot of other good examples throughout the country of places that are already boating and places that never stopped,” said Tom Hogeman, Frisco’s marina manager. “People are doing it successfully. Boating is a great way to get away from other people, and we’re looking forward to getting that going here.”
Last week, Frisco and Dillon submitted a marina reopening strategy to the county government outlining new policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among staff and visitors.
County officials approved the proposal Monday, May 11, giving the go-ahead to begin prepping for openings later this month.
“We appreciated that they put their heads together and came up with some ideas we really felt good about,” said Julie Sutor, the county’s communications director. “We’re excited that these really amazing and signature summer facilities in the community are going to be open.”
The restrictions laid out are relatively straightforward and consistent with existing measures in other businesses and facilities. In stabilization stage one of the county’s roadmap, the marinas would require staff to physically distance and work isolated stations, along with wearing face coverings in public areas.
Employees also will undergo daily symptom screenings. Anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms will be excluded from the workforce for at least 10 days and will be required to be tested within 48 hours.
In regard to patrons, there also are prohibitions against congregating on docks, rafting up of boats on the water and short-term slip rentals. For rental operations, only one person from each party will be allowed in the office at a time, and group sizes will be restricted to 10 people.
Boat owners will be asked to show green tags and receipts to investigators through their car windows and to follow inspector’s instructions around physical distancing if they’re needed to assist with the inspection.
Marina managers also voiced that getting open sooner rather than later would help curb the potential for “rogue launching,” a major concern in spreading aquatic nuisance species, similar to recent issues faced at Green Mountain Reservoir.
“It’s important we operate at some level so we don’t get people illegally launching or carrying their boats over the rocks and tossing them into the lake,” said Craig Simson, Dillon’s marina director. “We’ve had boats from all over the country, and we’ve found evidence of zebra and quagga mussels, New Zealand mud snails, Eurasian watermilfoil and more. …
“We are the only two launch locations on Lake Dillon. Every single vessel that comes through has to go through inspection and decontamination when necessary. It’s a huge piece of what we do, protect this lake from being put on the positive list.”
Finally, the document lays out a number of measures to ensure boats, equipment and facilities are regularly cleaned and disinfected. The marinas will open in tandem to prevent any overcrowding at one area.
In addition to offering residents and visitors another way to recreate during the continued hardships of COVID-19 closures, the marina openings also will represent some relief for town governments expecting major shortfalls in revenue as a result of shutdowns this year.
Despite short staffing at both marinas, the towns are expecting to have staff at the marinas to help educate the public and ensure compliance. Though, officials emphasized that it’s up to residents and visitors to follow the rules and recreate responsibly so that enforcement efforts aren’t needed and the amenities can stay open without issue.
“Not only are we trying to provide for our community, but I’m also running a small economy here,” Simson said. “I’ve got 30 people banking on their jobs right now, working with Dillon and the county. I’ve got people back to work, paying rent and buying groceries. If this doesn’t go well, if we turn into the next picture of a coastal beach where people are disregarding what we’ve been asked to do, it could really jeopardize what we’re trying to do here.”
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