Summit County orders widespread business closures amid COVID-19 outbreak
The closures will last indefinitely, meaning an undetermined amount of time
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to remain open.
BRECKENRIDGE — Summit County officials issued a public health order Monday afternoon, announcing sweeping business closures throughout the area to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The order will include all municipalities. Only banks, grocery stores, liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open.
According to a statement from the county, dine-in activity in all restaurants, bars and cafeterias in Summit County will be prohibited beginning at 10 p.m. Monday. Restaurants will be allowed to continue providing delivery and takeout options.
“Our restaurant owners and their employees work hard every day to ensure food safety for their customers by practicing good handwashing, preventing cross contamination and excluding sick employees,” Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said in a news release that confirmed the order to close. “During this COVID-19 response, they are working even harder to ensure that the food they produce is safe. Because the primary mode of COVID-19 transmission is person-to-person — not through the preparation, service and consumption of food — we believe that take-out and delivery services pose very low risk to the public and serve a critical need in the community.”
In addition, the Summit Stage and Breckenridge Free Ride bus services will be suspended at the end of service Monday and will not resume until further notice. Ride share services will be permitted to operate until 11:59 p.m. Monday, and service will be suspended afterward. All shuttle services will be allowed to operate until noon Thursday, though county officials are emphasizing that such services should be used only for transporting visitors out of the county or residents back to the area.
All retail businesses that see foot traffic from the general public also will be required to close effective 10 p.m. Monday. All lodging businesses — including hotels, motels, timeshares and short-term rentals — are required to be closed by noon Thursday.
According to the county, the closures will last indefinitely, meaning the length of the closure is undetermined.
“The quicker we shut everything down, the quicker this all goes away,” Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said.
- Federal, state, local and special district facilities, public utilities and utility service providers (electric utility providers, internet service providers, water and sewer service providers)
- Banks, title companies, grocery stores, pet food stores, hardware stores
- Medical service providers, including hospitals, doctors offices, physical therapists and pharmacies, medical supply companies, dental offices and veterinarians
- Retail gas stations, car dealerships, auto mechanic facilities, car rental companies
- Department stores, like Walmart and Target
- The sale of food and beverages — including liquor, beer and wine — is limited to carry-out. Food and nonalcoholic beverages also can be delivered.
As of Monday, Summit County has had two positive cases of COVID-19. The first is still in isolation in the Denver area. The second is in isolation in Frisco. Forty-seven Summit County residents and visitors have been tested. So far, 11 have tested negative, two have tested positive and 34 are still pending.
With the closures, Summit County joins a number of other communities around the country making changes to business practices in response to the disease, including statewide restaurant and bar closures in California, Illinois, Ohio and more. Breckenridge Town Manager Rick Holman noted that the county’s new restrictions were modeled after similar efforts in Gunnison and Crested Butte.
On Monday evening, Gov. Jared Polis announced a statewide ban on dine-in restaurants and bars.
The suspension in service will last for at least 30 days and will allow for takeout and delivery service. In addition to restaurants, large gathering areas like gyms, theaters and casinos also will be closed.
“There will be a time when we want to celebrate those local small businesses again,” Polis said. “… But I think you all know who are watching this that day is not today. It’s not tomorrow, and it’s not likely the week after.”
For business owners, even if the move seems to make sense, the news is still disappointing.
“You really can’t do social distancing in a restaurant,” said Jimmy Walker, head brewer at Breckenridge Brewery and Pub, which closed down preemptively Sunday because of the disease. “You’re touching too many credit cards and people and pens and money. You’re always close to people. …
“I finished the brew-day watching people make their way down the south end of Breckenridge, and it was heartbreaking to have to turn them all away. You think of all the visitors and people on vacation. We’re in the service industry, but we’re here to make people happy. It’s tough.”
Taylor Sienkiewicz contributed to the reporting of this story.
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