Moffat County receives approval from Governor’s office, CDPHE to loosen restrictions locally | CraigDailyPress.com
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Moffat County receives approval from Governor’s office, CDPHE to loosen restrictions locally

The downtown section of Yampa Avenue sits empty during Gov. Jared Polis' stay at home order for the state of Colorado amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joshua Carney / Craig Press

After more than two weeks spent anxiously awaiting word from the Governor’s office and the CDPHE regarding approval or denial of a phased reopening plan, Moffat County’s Board of Health received a “yes” answer Thursday afternoon, albeit with some stipulations from the state capitol.

The variance request from the Moffat County Board Of Health involved four specific functions: Retail, Gyms, Movie Theaters and Places of Worship.

CDPHE Director Jill Ryan approved the variance request while adding some specific criteria for Moffat County to follow in all four functions, adding a surveillance request to the original request, stating, “The Suppression Plan needs to include a weekly case count number that the Moffat County Health Department can manage for case investigations, contact tracing, and outbreak response to ensure timeliness goals for isolation and contact tracing while ensuring ability to respond to outbreaks that may occur. ​These triggers should be incorporated into the county’s decision making concerning when Moffat would tighten its restrictions.”

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According to Ryan’s approval, all employees at retail shops are required to wear face coverings or masks covering the nose at mouth at all times while working.

FITNESS

Ryan added a number of requirements for local gyms to open, according to the approval letter from the CDPHE.

According to Ryan’s approval, all gyms may open as long as the following requirements are met:

  • Employees must be screened for symptoms each day before beginning work, and those who are symptomatic must be excluded from the facility and required to remain in isolation for 10 days, per CDC guidance.
  • Employees must wear face coverings or masks covering the nose and mouth at all times while working.
  • Customers must be asked whether they have COVID-19 symptoms at the door and excluded from the facility if symptomatic.
  • Customers should be encouraged to wear a face covering both when entering the facility and while in the facility, unless a face covering inhibits the participants ability to participate in the fitness activity.
  • Given the many unknowns regarding how the SARS CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 is spread, use of equipment in the gym must be limited to no closer than every other machine so that participants are not exercising right next to each other and smaller exercise rooms with poor ventilation should be discouraged from use.
  • Employees must clean and disinfect shared equipment between customer uses.
  • Any classes held must be restricted to 4 or fewer individuals and cleaning and disinfection of the classroom must occur between uses.
  • No equipment may be shared between customers unless they are household contacts.

MOVIE THEATERS

One area of the variance request Moffat County differed from others was the requested opening of the popular movie theater in town. Ryan’s office approved the opening of West Twin Cinema, as long as the theater meets the following conditions:

  • Employees must be screened for symptoms each day before beginning work, and those who are symptomatic must be excluded from the facility and required to remain in isolation for 10 days, per CDC guidance
  • Employees must wear face coverings or masks covering the nose and mouth at all times while working.
  • Customers should be encouraged to wear face coverings into and inside the movie theater.
  • Customers must be asked whether they have COVID-19 symptoms at the door and excluded from the facility if symptomatic.
  • The facility must track the number of individuals in a theater to create appropriate distancing as follows:
    • Capacity shall be limited by the number of seats per theater Customers must be separated by a minimum of at least three seats to the side, and must alternate every other row.
    • Individuals residing in the same household will be considered one customer.
    • Six feet distance must be maintained between customers
  • The theater must be cleaned and disinfected between movie showings.
  • Mark concession lines for a minimum of six feet distancing
  • Offer touchless payment options wherever possible.

PLACES OF WORSHIP

While some places of worship locally have been allowed to operate under the guidance of the Moffat County Public Health Department, Ryan’s approval from the state letter further identified what criteria the places of worship must meet to allow occupants in person at a 30 percent capacity of building code occupancy.

  • Participants must be asked whether they have COVID-19 symptoms at the door and excluded from the place of worship if symptomatic.
  • Participants should be encouraged to wear a face covering both when entering and while present in the house of worship, except when specific participation in the service requires removal, such as to receive communion.
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between individuals who are not of the same household.
  • Disallow gatherings in the lobby or church vestibule at all times.
  • Implement touchless offerings and communion or sacrament options as much as possible.
  • Employees must be screened for symptoms each day before beginning work, and those who are symptomatic must be excluded from the place of worship and required to remain in isolation for 10 days, per CDC guidance.
  • Employees must wear face coverings or masks covering the nose and mouth at all times while working.
  • Require cleaning and disinfection after any use of the worship space.

“This variance approval is granted based on the facts and circumstances today as you have described them in your request,” Ryan said in her letter to Moffat County’s Board of Health. “However, should circumstances change such that, for example, surges in COVID-19 transmission occurs, cases exceed the capacity for Moffat County to fully implement all effective disease control strategies as described in your request, or if resources or COVID-19 prevalence statewide in our opinion requires a different approach, CDPHE reserves the right to modify or rescind this variance approval. This approval is in effect until the final expiration of PHO 20-28, which currently is set to expire on May 26, 2020 but may be extended.”

The next step for the Moffat County Board of Health is to come up with guidelines for Phase II of its plan to reopen Moffat County. The Board of Public Health, as well as City of Craig’s City Councilors have discussed requesting allowing a 30 percent capacity at local restaurants in its next phase.

Gov. Polis has indicated that, on May 25, the state will decide if restaurants can begin reopening and at what level.


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