San Juan Basin Public Health issued a public health order Friday for La Plata County allowing outdoor recreation businesses, gyms, recreational sports leagues and houses of worship to reopen under restrictions, such as social distancing and keeping to groups of 10 people or fewer.
The order builds on the state’s “Safer at Home in the Vast, Great Outdoors” signed by Gov. Jared Polis earlier this week. The order clears the way to open outdoor recreation businesses, houses of worship, gyms and others, according to a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment order issued Thursday.
Colorado’s attempt to “flatten the curve” appears to be succeeding according to multiple data sources showing that COVID-19 transmission and use of health care resources because of the disease have leveled off, the order said. In response, the state lifted some of its restrictions.
For Southwest Colorado, the order is big news for rafting and outdoor guiding companies, gyms, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and people seeking worship services.
The order issued Friday by SJBPH says La Plata County businesses affected by the order must self-certify before opening and should self-certify before June 11. Archuleta County businesses are encouraged, not ordered, to self-certify.
As of Friday, Colorado had 27,615 positive COVID-19 cases, and 1,274 people have died because of the disease. SJBPH reported 82 positive cases in La Plata County and eight in Archuleta County. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 108,064 deaths.
Basics of Colorado’s new orderAs of June 4, the state lifted restrictions on some personal recreation activities and businesses. In general, people should still follow social-distancing rules, conduct regular sanitation and keep group sizes to a maximum of 10 people.
Per the order, playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities can reopen with no more than 10 people at a time and regular sanitation.
Outdoor swimming pools can open at 50% capacity and no more than 50 people. Locker rooms remain closed, and regular sanitation of pools is necessary.
Organized recreational youth or adult league sports can resume. No more than 25 players are permitted outdoors; 10, indoors. Parents at youth sports should stay 6 feet apart, and spectators are discouraged for adult sports.
Gyms, recreation centers and indoor pools can open. No more than 10 people are allowed per room, with 6 feet distancing and regular sanitation. Locker rooms are closed.
Houses of worship may open to 50% of posted occupancy limit indoors and not exceed 50 people, whichever is less, with 6 feet of distancing. At outdoor services, people should also maintain social distancing. Face coverings must be worn by staff, volunteers and congregants, and sanitation measures should be followed.
Houses of worship are also encouraged to implement electronic platforms to conduct services whenever possible or conduct more frequent services of 10 or fewer people.
Non-guided recreation in groups no larger than 10 and non-guided equipment rentals are permitted. The order also permits guide services for fishing, hunting, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, ATV tours and climbing in groups no larger than 10 people. River outfitters, rafting or Jeep tours are permitted in groups of up to two households and no larger than 10 people. Developed hot springs can reopen.
Outdoor recreation at ski resorts, scenic trains, zip lines, ropes courses and others can reopen – with review and approval by the local public health agency, or SJBPH.
Travel should occur within an individual’s local community or as necessary to access outdoor recreation areas. Private campgrounds can open, with regular sanitation practices and social distancing. They should only be available by reservation, and group facilities, like pavilions, remain closed.
What is not authorized or openAny gatherings or events of more than 10 people.Adult and youth sports tournaments that attract crowds or travelers.Rodeos, fairs, festivals and parades.Receptions for more than 10 people.Car, motorcycle or horse races, unless there are no spectators and race personnel maintain social distancing.Sporting events except recreational leagues.Bars and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.Cigar bars.Indoor movie theaters, concert halls and other performance venues.Casinos, amusement parks and arcades.People should stay at home or in open outdoor areas whenever possible, particularly those vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19. Community members should wear non-medical face coverings. In Durango, face coverings are required.
People living in shared or outdoor spaces must comply with social-distancing requirements and should leave their houses only for necessary activities.
Workplace restrictions remain in place to limit occupancy and enforce social-distancing requirements, cleaning standards and other measures necessary to reduce the possibility of disease spread.