La Plata County, city of Durango and San Juan Basin Public Health staff members clarified what does and does not change under the county’s Safer La Plata order during the city’s seventh video update Friday.
Colorado began its “safer at home” order April 27, lifting some restrictions set in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. San Juan Basin Public Health, which manages the emergency response for La Plata and Archuleta counties, issued its own order delaying the reopening of some businesses and workplaces until May 8.
“It has been a little bit confusing because there’s a lot of changes happening at once,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director.
Both the state and local orders allowed curbside retail, one-on-one real estate showings and nonessential medical and dental services to reopen April 27. Both orders say that at-risk individuals should continue to follow stay-at-home rules, like leaving home only for essential needs. Jollon encouraged everyone to follow stay-at-home guidelines as much as possible.
“Your top job every day is to stay at home until we’re further down the path on this infection,” she said.
One key difference between the two orders is the opening date for personal services, such as salons, tattoo parlors and dog groomers.
Under the state’s “safer at home” order, personal service businesses could open Friday. SJBPH issued the stricter Safer La Plata order, which delayed the reopening of personal services until May 8.
The delay gives businesses and community members more time to understand the changes, so communities don’t accidentally undo the progress made during the stay-at-home order, Jollon said.
To reopen, business owners must read Safer La Plata guidelines and complete a self-certification process outlining the safety measures the business plans to implement. More information is available on the SJBPH website.
Jollon encouraged businesses to identify safety procedures by assessing the risk of specific work environments. Business owners should consider how much contact employees have with the public and each other and how feasible it is to mitigate those contacts when evaluating risk.
SJBPH extended its face covering advisory, one step below a mandate, as part of the Safer La Plata order and strongly recommends community members continue to wear face coverings. The coverings are required in most workplaces, but not for all community activities because of enforcement challenges.
“You have a responsibility to keep your droplets to yourself when we’re in a pandemic, and that’s what a face covering does,” Jollon said.
SJBPH’s order was not a unilateral decision – local municipalities, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and other organizations supported it, said Dean Brookie, mayor of Durango.
“This is not business as usual, or we will go back to no business,” he said. “The last thing we want is to have a rebound of this virus in the middle of our summer season.”
Durango, La Plata County updatesAs the city of Durango faces the economic challenges of the pandemic, community members should expect some changes in services.
Starting Friday, almost all city employees will take a one-day furlough without pay each week for the rest of the year, said Amber Blake, interim city manager. This could affect how facilities will open. For example, some facilities will be closed Fridays, such as Durango City Hall, River City Hall and other administrative offices.The city will continue its sales tax deferral for businesses. Businesses can apply for the deferral and can find more information on the city’s website under finance.Blake advised property owners to flush water systems in vacant buildings for safety reasons because water stagnation can cause accumulations of lead, copper and Legionella bacteria at the tap.La Plata County will continue to close its buildings to the public under Safer La Plata. If people need to access buildings to receive services, they should look for a phone number to call to make an appointment or reach a staff email@example.com