The original item was published from March 17, 2020 6:28 PM to March 20, 2020 10:59 AM
Summit County has compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the recently issued Public Health Order regarding COVID-19. The information in this Q&A is provided by Summit County in order to aid visitors and residents in understanding the practical effects of the Order. Please note that this information is not a substitute for reading the actual Order, and is based on the best information that we have at the time, as of 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 17.
1. My AirBnB/VRBO/Hotel Reservation doesn’t end until after 12 noon on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Can I stay the full time that I have booked? No. It is a violation of the Amended and Restated Public Health Order dated March 17, 2020, (“Order”) to stay past 12 noon on Thursday, March 19, 2020, in your short-term lodging unit. Violations of the Order are a misdemeanor and punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 18 months. If you are under a quarantine or isolation order, you must abide by the terms of that order. In addition, if you are a local worker who currently resides in short-term lodging, please contact EOC@summitcountyco.gov for more information.
2. The lodging company, ski shop or activity company through which I booked my vacation rental, rented my skis or booked an adventure is refusing to refund my money if I leave early. What should I do? It is our hope that during this difficult time, businesses will be understanding of the evolving, unprecedented situation and the difficulties this poses for travelers. At this time, disputes regarding refunds with a commercial entity are a private matter between customers and the entities they booked with.
3. My work has shut down and/or my kids are out of school because of the Public Health Order, leaving me in a difficult state financially. What should I do? Colorado Governor Jared Polis has stated that unemployment benefits will be available to workers affected by COVID-19. However, at this time it is unclear how that will work. There is currently no federal guarantee regarding paid time off for employees who are out of work due to this public health emergency. State and federal authorities are working towards a solution, so stay tuned for more information. There are a variety of local resources available if you are in a difficult situation regarding food or rent, including FIRC (www.summitfirc.org); Smart Bellies (www.smartbellies.org); Summit County Community and Senior Center (970-668-2940); Father Dyer United Methodist Church (www.FatherDyer.com).
4. What will enforcement of the Public Health Order look like? As noted above, violations of the Public Health Order are a misdemeanor, which means they are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 18 months. However, the purpose of the Order is to protect the public health, welfare and safety, and to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. So the emphasis from the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies will be on education and gaining compliance, not punishment.
5. I own a local business. Am I shut down due to the Order? Paragraph 4.B of Public Health Order defines “retail goods and services” as all commercial establishments offering goods, products or services for sale to the general public at an established physical location. All establishments providing retail goods and services are prohibited from operating. However, establishments may continue to provide goods or services via online or over-the-phone sales, provided that the goods or services can be sent by mail, delivered to a customer’s home, or handed off to a customer’s vehicle located outside of the retail location. There are a number of commercial businesses also identified in Paragraph 4.B that are exempted from the prohibition because they are considered essential for the community or represent important community functions that do not involve large gatherings of people, as follows:
- Summit County Justice Center
- Federal, state, local, and special district facilities
- Public utilities or utility service providers (internet, sewer, water, electricity)
- Title companies
- Grocery stores
- Hardware stores
- Medical offices and pharmacies, including veterinarians
- Gas stations
- Car dealerships and auto mechanic facilities
- Pet food stores
- Liquor and marijuana stores
Please note that exempted businesses are only allowed to sell the products that fit into their category of exemption. For example, if you are a grocery store that also sells clothing and shoes, you must cordon off the section of your store that sells clothing and shoes or otherwise manage your operation so as to disallow the sale of any items outside of groceries. If your business does not fit in one of the exempted categories or cannot be modified to provide online or phone sales and delivery/pick-up outside of the physical retail location, you are not allowed to operate while the Order is in effect.
6. My business does not involve retail sales. Am I still allowed to operate? Yes, provided you assist your employees and customers, if any, in maintaining social distancing and cleanliness standards. Some examples of businesses that are not considered retail in nature or are otherwise exempted include construction sites, light industrial work, warehouses, wholesale operations, storage units, plumbers, electricians, appliance repair, car mechanics and other service-related industries where the service is either performed off-site or is not open to the general public or otherwise driven by foot traffic. If you have a business that does not appear to be covered by any of this guidance, please contact us at 970-668-9730 and we will do our best to provide you with a timely answer.
7. My non-retail or otherwise exempted business has employees or sub-contractors that commute from outside Summit County. Are they still allowed to come to work? All businesses should be advised that Governor Polis has strongly recommended that people refrain from traveling to Summit, Pitkin, Eagle and Gunnison counties, and that people who have been inside any of those four mountain counties engage in a 14 day self-quarantine. Therefore, our advice is to allow out-of-county employees to work from home as much as possible, and to postpone out-of-county contractors for the next two weeks until the situation can be re-evaluated.
8. There seem to be a lot of people at the grocery store, department store, bank, liquor store or dispensary. Should I go in and/or wait in line? In order to practice effective social distancing, we would advise people to not wait in line or continue to congregate where there are more than 50 people present in close proximity to one another. If you can, go home and try to do your shopping or errands at another time.
9. Are all the bars and restaurants really closed? Yes. The Summit County Public Health Order prohibits dine-in activity in local bars and restaurants. In addition, Governor Polis has closed Colorado bars, restaurants, brewpubs and distillery pubs to in-person dining. Delivery or carry-out is still allowed, and there are a number of restaurants in the county that are still providing these services. Please check with individual establishments to find out whether they are providing delivery or carry-out options.
10. What does “carry-out” service look like for a restaurant? It is very important that all cleanliness and social distancing guidelines be followed while carry-out orders are filled/picked-up. This means that no more than 10 people can be in your establishment at any time - fewer than 10 if you cannot maintain a 6-foot distance between customers while they wait. The 6-foot distance also applies to individuals who are waiting outside.