COVID-19 HHRC Update: Grand County Public Health Terminates Temporary PHO related to Winter Park/Fraser restaurants & events
February 21, 2021
Information shared from Grand Country Public Health https://www.co.grand.co.us/COVID19
GRAND COUNTY, CO – On February 21, 2021, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) issued an Amendment Authorization Order to the June 26, 2020 Standing Public Health Order that officially terminated the February 12, 2021 Temporary Amendment Order. That order had placed temporary heightened restrictions on specific businesses and activities from February 13 through February 26, 2021. The termination order goes into effect tomorrow morning, February 22, 2021 at 8am.
After being named the county with the second highest transmission rate in the State of Colorado, by the second week in February, Grand County Public Health had a difficult decision to make. It was time to move into Level Red restrictions based on Governor Polis’ new Dial 2.0 framework. The options were to either move the entire county into Level Red restrictions or just the portion of the county with the highest disease activity. After noting a significant disease trend throughout the Fraser and Winter Park area, including a major outbreak at Winter Park Resort, GCPH elected to institute targeted restrictions related to specific businesses and activities determined to be high transmission sources.
As alluded to in the February 13th press release, investigations of COVID outbreak cases linked back to 2 specific businesses that were asked to pivot to curbside. These businesses asked for transparency with public health. The investigation has been fully completed and vetted and revealed that 11 patron and 1 employee cases were linked to those 2 businesses in Fraser and Winter Park.
Fortunately, thanks to a steady decline in new COVID cases over the last week, Grand County dropped to Level Orange metrics on February 18, 2021. This persistent decrease has given Public Health Director Abbie Baker the assurance that our numbers are moving in the right direction and that the temporary Red restrictions were no longer needed.
Ms. Baker commented, “It was the Governor’s intent with the new Dial, and its 7-day metrics as opposed to the previous 14-day metrics, to allow counties to move more swiftly in and out of higher level restrictions based on current disease trends. That is exactly what we did.”
With the termination of the Temporary PHO, all businesses, events, and activities in Grand County are now in Level Orange capacities.
If our numbers continue to decline, Grand County may soon have the opportunity to institute the GrandStar program. GrandStar is a state-approved variation of Colorado’s “5 Star” Certified Business Variance Program that allows businesses to expand operations by implementing safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Once active, the GrandStar Program will allow businesses that achieve and maintain the 5-star certification to operate with capacities at one level lower than the County’s current level of restrictions. For example, certified GrandStar restaurants will be able to operate at Level Yellow capacities when other restaurants in the county are limited to Level Orange capacities. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is currently spearheading the GrandStar efforts and is limiting applications to restaurants and gyms in the Fraser Valley area, but the hope is that other chambers and towns will soon join in to expand the program across the county. To learn more about GrandStar, visit https://www.playwinterpark.com/grandstar.