COVID-19 Stories: Mesa County’s Variance to Safer at Home

Mesa County was granted a variance from the State of Colorado’s Safer at Home directive late last week, which put us in the driver’s seat to determine next steps to thoughtfully reopen our community and restart our economy. As retail establishments, restaurants, gyms, and places of worship gradually resume operations, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) will continue to rely on our strong working relationships and transparent partnerships within the community to make this transition as smooth as possible.

MCPH’s Consumer Protection team works with local businesses to establish best practices and protocols around safe operation. They are a readily available resource as we move forward together in this new Safer at Home phase of the pandemic. It’s our goal to be a good partner and help each business find innovative ways to operate while mitigating risks.

There are a lot of questions about the new Mesa County Safer at Home directive. You can find the full order as approved by the MCPH Board of Health here: Public Health Order 2020-02. This variance includes a series of incremental changes that allow for reopening in a manner consistent with Mesa County’s specific circumstances. 

So what’s not changing?

We are still asking everyone to wash your hands frequently, wear cloth face coverings, stay a safe distance of 6 feet from people who are not members of your household, and keep personal gatherings to 10 people or fewer. We are not through this yet – we need to stay the course.

What’s beginning to reopen?

Restaurants may provide limited dine-in service at no more than 30% capacity; gyms can open with limited use, including one-on-one sessions with personal trainers, at no more than 30% of their facility’s capacity; places of worship can invite no more than 50 people into their services while maintaining six feet between individuals or household groups; and local recreation facilities may reopen to include golf courses, tennis courts, green spaces, and trails.

MCPH and our team of inspectors are committed to working closely with local businesses, to answer questions and provide guidance as they develop a plan of action to help them operate safely every day.

When the initial Stay At Home order was put into place in March, the Consumer Protection team quickly initiated a similar process with essential retail establishments like grocery and hardware stores. What we found was that many businesses had already come up with innovations like one-way aisles and online or telephone preordering for curbside pickup. We helped them fine-tune their processes and establish cleaning protocols to ensure safety and consistency, but the innovations belonged to the businesses. In fact, several businesses have had so much success with their curbside pickup that they plan to continue this method of doing business even after restrictions are fully lifted.

Through transparency, honest conversations, and trouble-shooting together, we can help our community operate safely as the guidance continues to evolve. The end goal for the team at MCPH is a healthy, prosperous, and thriving community. We’re grateful for strong relationships with businesses, faith communities, and other community partners as we work together in this next Safer at Home phase.

 

Mesa County Public Health has set protocols in place and will continue to work with business owners to establish best practices during the Safer at Home variance. If you are a business owner, you may reach out to healthinfo@mesacounty.us

 

 

 

 

 

 

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