Summit County officials say they won’t require a negative test from visitors
Health officials also clarify short-term rental rules
Summit County officials will not be requiring a negative COVID-19 test result from visitors who come into the county.
At a Summit County Board of Health meeting Thursday, Dec. 10, county officials discussed Pitkin County’s decision to require a negative test result from travelers.
Starting Monday, Dec. 14, Pitkin County will be requiring all nonresidents spending one or more nights in the county to complete a travel affidavit, which includes a negative test result for anyone over 10 years old. According to the Pitkin County website, the test result has to be from a test that was administered within 72 hours before arrival.
At Summit County’s meeting, Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence responded to community questions about why the affidavit isn’t a measure that is being considered locally.
“Pitkin County has an airport. A lot of their out-of-state travelers fly directly into Aspen,” Lawrence said. “That’s very different than here as our visitors are flying through (Denver International Airport) in the Front Range and driving up. We also have many more day visitors. Very few people are driving to Aspen from the Front Range just for a day of skiing.”
Lawrence added that if there are going to be travel requirements, they should be implemented statewide.
“We’re not an island, any of our counties,” she said. “It’s really difficult for us as individual counties to have those sort of testing mandates and traveler safety affidavits in place, but especially in Summit County.”
Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine added that an affidavit and a negative test in general can provide a false sense of security.
“You get a negative test, but it’s only good for the moment that you get it,” she said. “The virus is still contagious, and you can still be asymptomatic.”
At the meeting, county officials also responded to concerns about how Summit County is implementing short-term rental rules compared to other counties. At a town hall Thursday, some participants asked why Summit County rentals are required to follow the one household per unit rule, while Pitkin and Eagle counties don’t have that same requirement.
County Manager Scott Vargo clarified that Pitkin and Eagle counties are in level orange, which allows gatherings of up to 10 people from no more than two households.
“I’ve done some follow up with Eagle County and Pitkin County, and I’m told by both of them that they are adhering to that restriction as it relates to lodging, as well,” he said.
Assistant County Attorney Cameron Turpin clarified that the short-term rental rule falls within the one household gathering limit imposed by level red restrictions at the state level.
“The state order — that we love — is not as clear in some aspects as we’d like,” she said. “(The state) said that the expectation was that that gathering size did apply to short-term rentals. So whether you were at your own home or your home that’s a short-term rental, you need to be following that.”
Lawrence added that the rule makes it so restrictions apply evenly to locals and visitors.
“We cannot have a different set of rules for our visitors than for our locals,” she said. “In this sort of situation, our locals are not allowed to gather with more than one household, so the same thing goes for our visitor population.”
The following places offer testing for the virus in Summit County:
• Centura Health’s Centers for Occupational Medicine in Frisco: Testing available daily by appointment at the Vista Professional Building. To schedule an appointment, call 970-668-5584.
• State testing in Silverthorne: Drive-thru testing available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 464-478 E. Fourth St. in the overflow parking lot by the Silverthorne Recreation Center. No appointment, insurance or identification is required. Starting Saturday, Dec. 12, the testing site will be at 591 Center Circle in Silverthorne.
• Vail Health testing in Frisco: Testing is available by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Old Community Center, 110 Third Ave. To book an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org including name, phone number and a copy of photo ID. Starting Monday, Dec. 14, the testing will be at the Speakeasy Movie Theater, 103 S. Harris St. in Breckenridge.
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