Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of April 19 | SummitDaily.com
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Top 5 stories on SummitDaily.com, week of April 19

A Colorado Department of Transportation operator uses a front end loader to deposit snow at a pull-off on the west side of Loveland Pass on April 19. The Colorado Department of Transportation announced on April 18 that two parking lots at the 11,990-foot pass will be barricaded. CDOT wrote that the state agency is, “being forced to place barriers to prevent motorists from parking unsafely on US 6 while recreating on Loveland Pass, activity which took place again (Saturday).”
Jason Connolly/ jconnolly@summitdaily.com

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.

1. Summit County commissioners propose easing some restrictions in ‘roadmap to recovery’

The Summit Board of County Commissioners and the Recovery and Resilience Committee last week outlined a “roadmap to recovery” to ease restrictions and continue combatting the coronavirus.

The proposal was in response to Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement that the state will be transitioning from the stay-at-home order to the “safer at home” phase of social distancing, which aims at easing restrictions without completely lifting them. Under the new phase, Coloradans would be encouraged to stay home as much as possible, but it is no longer a requirement.

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The recommendations keep many social distancing practices in place, while allowing for many workplaces to operate. People are encouraged to use caution when they leave their homes and continue to maintain social distancing measures. 

“This only works if personal responsibility is involved,” said Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence. “Everyone is expected to do their part in this.”

Libby Stanford 

2. Colorado Department of Transportation to barricade Loveland Pass parking lots Sunday

Citing “unsafe parking” along the highway, the Colorado Department of Transportation barricaded two parking lots at Loveland Pass on April 19. CDOT wrote in its announcement on social media that the state agency was “forced to place barriers to prevent motorists from parking unsafely on U.S. Highway 6 while recreating on Loveland Pass, activity which took place again (Saturday).”

CDOT filled the parking lots with snow, and said the closures likely will last weeks.

“It was successful,” CDOT communications manager Elise Thatcher said after the first weekend of the barricades. “We had supervisors up there on Sunday doing the rounds to see what the impact was, and they did not see anyone blocking the lanes. Traffic was able to move smoothly, and hazmat vehicles weren’t affected or delayed.”

Antonio Olivero and Sawyer D’Argonne 

3. Vail Resorts employee who posted sign in front of snowstake cam says protest got him fired

Tim McMahon says he didn’t even know where the Beaver Creek snowstake camera was located when he began hiking up the mountain to place a protest sign in front of it on March 27.

In an interview with the Vail Daily, the former Beano’s Cabin employee said he was horrified by what he saw as an unsafe reaction to the coronavirus infection in Eagle County. He said making hundreds of young and healthy employees — some of whom were certain to be asymptotic carriers — scramble to get out of one of the country’s most concentrated spread zones would lead to spread in other areas. Lives were potentially on the line, he said, and he felt helpless. So he jotted down some thoughts on a sign. 

“I didn’t want to write anything vulgar, I didn’t want to do anything destructive, I just wanted to get a message out of Eagle County,” he said. “So I thought this camera in the national forest was one way to do that.”

McMahon was contacted by Vail Resorts management, and he admitted to placing the sign there. He said he was subsequently terminated.

— John LaConte, Vail Daily

4. Mental health crisis unfolds in Summit County as pandemic wreaks havoc on lives

While the potentially ravaging effects of COVID-19 on people’s physical health have been of paramount concern to government officials looking to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the public health system, concern is also mounting over the toll that social distancing requirements, wholesale changes to lifestyle and financial turmoil caused by the pandemic are taking on the mental health of millions of Americans trapped inside their homes.

With the loss of jobs and canceling of group gatherings comes the loss of stability, cancellation of plans and delays in achieving dreams. Among the many negative impacts of isolation is the ability to hide chronic substance abuse issues. Two businesses considered essential during the shutdown are liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. The recipe of isolation at home, alcohol and financial stress can lead to collateral damage, manifesting in various ugly forms.

Brianne Snow, executive director of the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, anticipates that mental health struggles will become more common and be exacerbated in the county as the pandemic continues.

“We’re seeing a lot of heightened mental health issues, more domestic violence and potentially abusive situations with children,” Snow said. “I have spoken to countless people through the rental assistance and food programs who feel like they don’t have hope. If you’re at home alone and not talking to anyone about being hopeless, not being out in social life, people won’t notice what’s going on. It’s a recipe for disaster, truly.”

Deepan Dutta

5. Lawsuits filed against ski industry giants Vail Resorts and Alterra over lost season pass value

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Vail Resorts on April 10 claiming false advertising, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, among other counts, due to lost mountain resort access without pass refunds. Four days later on April 14, a similar lawsuit was filed against Alterra Mountain Co., citing that by retaining revenue generated from Ikon Pass sales, the company holds tens of millions in unjust profits as the ski areas and resorts were closed prematurely. 

According to the lawsuit, the class action is on behalf of all Epic Pass holders for the 2019-20 season as well as those with unused days on the Epic Day Pass. The suit against Alterra alleges that Ikon passholders did not receive the benefits that they paid for when the resorts closed in mid-March

Taylor Sienkiewicz 


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