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COVID-19 HHRC Update: Public Alert & Warning, Update on Restaurants, and Leader’s Intent on Lodging

May 21, 2020 8:00 pm

Information shared from Grand Country Public Health

Public Alert & Warning

The COVID-19 Response Team (IMT), in cooperation with the Grand County Communications Center, will be utilizing the CodeRED Emergency Notification System and IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System) to send alerts from public health officials to both local residents and visitors in Grand County on Friday, May 22. This will allow our local leaders to test and evaluate IPAWS in Grand County, as well as disseminate important information about COVID-19 restrictions prior to the holiday weekend. The messaging will be dependent upon whether or not the county’s variance request is approved by the CDPHE, and will reflect the appropriate public health order information. 

Update on Restaurants

We have NOT heard from the state on the approval of our variance request. We will update the public as soon as we hear from CDPHE, but, until then, restaurants should follow the Governor’s Safer at Home Order which states that restaurants may be open for take-out and delivery only (no on-premise consumption, indoors or outdoors).

Once restaurants are allowed to open for on-premise dining, owners/managers will be expected to enact strict social distancing protocols and safety measures to protect the general public and their employees alike. Examples of restrictions may include, but are not limited to: daily staff health screenings; face coverings for all restaurant staff and customers (except when seated); reduced seating capacity and extra distancing between tables; signs posted for customers outlining requirements–wear a mask, wash hands, don’t enter if symptomatic; hand sanitizer available for customers; single-use or single-serving condiments only, no self-service stations or buffets; and utilization of a reservation system (waiting areas closed). 

Leader’s Intent on Lodging

Since the publication of our press release on Tuesday evening, we have fielded several questions about lodging in Grand County.  We hope this helps clear up the confusion.

  • The Grand County Public Health Order regarding all short term lodging restrictions expires tonight at midnight, which leaves everyone under the state CDPHE “Safer at Home” Order. Hotels are allowed to be open, but STRs are not.
  • According to the CDPHE “Safer at Home” order,  critical infrastructure includes “Hotels, and places of accommodation, excluding private, short-term vacation-style rentals such as those arranged through an online hosting platform, including but not limited to VRBO or Airbnb, homeowner rentals, and privately owned residences for rent that are rented for a period of 30 days or fewer, except if offered for use for the public health response”.  
  • CDPHE has provided the following additional guidance over the last few weeks: As recreational and leisure travel is discouraged and is contrary to the ‘Safer at Home’ intent, hotels and accommodations should only be used for critical activities. This is in reference to the CDPHE order stating “Individuals are encouraged to limit travel to Necessary Travel.” 

Our role as Public Health and the IMT is to help guide and assist our businesses and help them understand the orders; however, there is still a lot of gray areas. The public health assumption would naturally be that lodging would be for local, essential and COVID-19-related isolation and quarantine uses. Nevertheless, as the state order “encourages” people to limit travel but does not mandate limited travel,  it would be hard to enforce any lodging component, other than privately-owned STRs.

Enjoy the holiday weekend Grand County, but be sure to be safe!