Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) was one of the first counties to apply for a variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), requesting permission to have local guidelines on how to lift conditions for the Stay-at-Home order.

Mesa County’s plan demonstrates proof of two stated conditions; very low case counts of COVID-19 and 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. In addition, two other criteria have also been provided; support from local elected officials and a letter of support from all area hospitals.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was provided with an initial copy of the plan on April 22. Mesa County Public Health has incorporated minimal suggestions to the plan and the most recent draft was submitted before noon on April 26. In addition to the outlined criteria for a variance, it appears the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is also examining the details of local implementation, which is taking longer than anticipated.

We remain hopeful the State will allow this local control and have been provided positive feedback on the plan, but as of 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, Mesa County Public Health does not have the required approval to implement a plan that varies from statewide recommendations

Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health said, “In my discussions with the State throughout Sunday, it appears our variance will require local restaurants to continue with what they’re currently doing until May 4th, at which time we expect they’ll be able to open dining rooms to 30% of fire code capacity. In addition, winery tasting rooms will not be allowed to open, but can still provide carry out, curbside pickup, and delivery, just as they’re currently doing.”

Mesa County Public Health is in full support of and intends to comply with the process set forth to ensure COVID-19 does not have devastating impacts on our community. We continue to await approval from the state before proceeding. 

In the absence of this approval, Mesa County Public Health advises Mesa County residents and businesses to follow statewide guidelines. 

As soon as we receive approval we will provide local guidance and recommendations.