Summit Board of County Commissioners: Welcome back, summer residents |

Summit Board of County Commissioners: Welcome back, summer residents

Karn Stiegelmeier, Thomas Davidson and Elisabeth Lawrence
Summit County commissioners
Summit County Commissioners Thomas Davidson, from left, Karn Stiegelmeier and Elisabeth Lawrence

It has been 10 weeks since we identified the first positive case of COVID-19 in Summit County. In that short time, our community has endured unimaginable changes and duress and demonstrated incredible strength, patience and compassion. As we now take the first steps toward stabilization and recovery, we want to thank each Summit County resident for the deep sacrifices you have made to save lives in our community.

Our movement forward into the Stabilization Phase of our Roadmap to Recovery coincides with the change of seasons, a time when we welcome back our summer seasonal residents who live elsewhere during the winter. Given the restrictions on travel imposed by state and local health orders, we feel it’s important to provide some clarification related to our second-home owners, who are a vital part of our local economy and valued members of our community.

Public health orders in many states across the nation, including Colorado, ask people to stay in place in order to reduce transmission of the new coronavirus. In the current Summit County public health order, second-home owners are “strongly encouraged” to stay at their primary place of residence, except for necessary travel or activities, such as essential maintenance. It’s important to note that the order does not prohibit second-home owners from coming to their homes in Summit County.

The state of Colorado is strongly advising everyone to stay at home as much as possible. Only “essential” travel within Colorado or between states is permitted. According to Colorado’s safer-at-home order, “Travel for recreational purposes should be limited to your own community like your county of residence or traveling no more than about 10 miles.” Included within the definition of necessary travel is “returning to a residence from outside the jurisdiction.” The Summit County public health order considers any living arrangement that lasts for longer than 30 days to be a residence and therefore not subject to the current prohibition on short-term lodging.

With these considerations in mind, we welcome back our summer seasonal residents who have homes here in Summit County. These homeowners are our friends and neighbors, they contribute to our economy, and they donate to and volunteer for our local nonprofit organizations in unbelievable ways. They are part of the fabric of Summit County, and we appreciate and value their presence here.

Individuals with multiple properties in different counties are discouraged from moving between their properties at intervals shorter than 30 days. However, we want to recognize that these neighbors are also valued members of our community, and we look forward to the day when travel in Colorado is less restricted, and we can see them again.

As our seasonal locals make their way home for the summer, we would like to remind everyone in Summit County to abide by the requirements of the state and local public health orders. This includes wearing face coverings in public places, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distancing among individuals and avoiding gathering in groups of 10 or more people. Second-home owners, seasonal workers and year-round residents alike have all chosen to be in our community because we love it, and we know the vast majority will take these prevention measures seriously in order to protect one another and save lives.

The impact of the novel coronavirus has been devastating to communities throughout the world, including Summit County. People are under incredible stress, and everyone benefits from a little extra kindness, compassion and understanding right now. We ask that all Summit County residents support one another during this difficult time, including our friends and neighbors who are now returning home for another beautiful Summit County summer.

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