Updates: COVID-19 and Travel Within Colorado and the Gunnison Valley
Public Health Order: “Visitors to Gunnison County are directed to return home immediately. Persons considering visiting the Gunnison Valley should remain home.”
The Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism and Prosperity Partnership no longer encourages visitation to the Gunnison Valley until the effects of COVID-19 have waned. While it is painful to make this decision, we have decided to ask visitors that if you have plans to visit in the foreseeable future, cancel them.
This is for the safety of our local population as well as the safety of our visitors who we often refer to as “temporary locals.”
On March 17, Vail Resorts announced the closing of their North American operations–including Crested Butte Mountain Resort, of course–for the season. Many of our valley’s businesses are also slowing or ceasing operations to protect our community from a quick spread of the coronavirus.
On March 16, an amended Public Health Order was issued, closing all short-term lodging unless an exemption is issued by the Public Health Director for quarantine and emergency-response crews. All visitors were directed to return home immediately “by the fastest and safest available means” (asked to self-isolate upon return home). The order closes all restaurants and retail other than delivery service. Gatherings are now limited to fewer than 10 people. For more information, visit gunnisoncounty.org (PDF).
On March 15, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advised anyone who has been in Eagle, Summit, Pitkin or Gunnison counties in the past week to minimize all contact with other people, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.
Gunnison County Resources
Gunnison County has set up a central hub of information for the public. Visit gunnisoncounty.org/covid19 for the latest updates on the coronavirus. They plan to release updates each day at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Gunnison County Health and Human Services Facebook page will be the primary source of information as it’s released.
If you are experiencing symptoms, you are urged to stay at home and call the information center at 970-641-7660, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
On March 12, Gunnison County Health and Human Services director Joni Reynolds delivered a Facebook Live message related to COVID-19. As of March 12, the Gunnison County Health and Human Services Department intends to post updates at 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. each day along with timely updates on their Facebook page.
On March 14, Gunnison County announced that access to its facilities is restricted due to the spread of coronavirus in Colorado. These restrictions are in place until April 8, when these precautions will be re-evaluated.
CO HELP: COVID-19 hotline
- For answers in many languages including English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话) and more:
- Call 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911.
- Email [email protected] (answers in English only).
- If you have symptoms and think you have been exposed, call a healthcare provider.
Sources for public health information
- State public health web page: gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus
- Facebook (com/CDPHE)
- Twitter (@CDPHE)
- CDC web page: gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov
In the Media
- NPR‘s “A1,” March 19: Coronavirus: Shutdown Town
- The New York Times, March 18: In Colorado Ski Country, the Coronavirus Leaves Fresh Mountain Air Off Limits
- The Colorado Sun, March 17: This is how much Colorado’s mountain communities stand to lose without skiing, restaurants, bars and lodging
- KBUT, March 17: COVID-19 in the Gunnison Valley: A Recording of our Live Q&A Session with Local Health Officials
- Vail Resorts, March 17: Vail Resorts to close North American resorts for the 2019-20 ski season
- CPR News, March 16: Gunnison County Effectively Shutting Down Public Life To Fight COVID-19
- The Colorado Sun, March 16: Gunnison County bans restaurants, bars from serving people 60 and older to slow coronavirus spread
- The Colorado Sun, March 15: Coronavirus is running so rampant in Colorado’s mountains residents, visitors should “minimize all contact with other people”
- Vail Resorts, March 14: Resorts will not operate March 15-22, with further guidance to follow
- The Colorado Sun, March 14: A Crested Butte woman came home from Hawaii with sniffles. Then she found out it was coronavirus.
From Gunnison County’s Commissioners
Gunnison County Commissioners have signed a Local Disaster Emergency Declaration on March 12. This declaration allows Gunnison County to pursue state aid, as well as sets a foundation for further public health action if needed. The declaration will remain in effect for seven days unless continued or renewed by the County Commissioners.
From Colorado’s Governor
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a state of emergency on March 10 in order to increase the state’s access to federal resources, prevent the spread of COVID-19 and continue to keep residents, travelers and destinations safe.
During a news conference March 11, Polis said that the state’s mountain communities are especially vulnerable because of their lack of resources to fight the virus’ spread, high altitude, and the many visitors from the Front Range and out of state.
Polis went on to warn anyone over the age of 60 or with underlying health issues “to abstain from traveling to Colorado’s mountains unless it’s absolutely necessary,” according to The Colorado Sun.