As Leadville and Lake County transition to allow freer access to businesses and spaces, city and county officials are working with the community to try to clarify the process and act as advocates for local business owners.
In an economic recovery meeting last Thursday, a mix of public officials, business owners, and non-profit employees met remotely to discuss plans moving forward and what collaboration between public and private entities looks like in this new phase.
Preventing spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases remains the priority of the city as businesses begin to see increases in traffic, Chad Most, director of the Leadville Main Street program, said during the meeting.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, and this is not the time for complacency,” Most said while discussing the strategy for communicating goals to businesses.
The three main focuses of discussion with businesses as they prepare to re-open will be preventing infection, emphasizing that restrictions being implemented are coming from the state level, and continuing to focus on collaborative, community-wide efforts to address these challenges, he said.
Moving forward, the Leadville Main Street program will focus on messaging and communication to help business owners.
Primarily, members of the subcommittee identified a need, while interfacing with local businesses, to act as advocates on businesses’ behalf and to help answer their questions, either directly or by connecting them with people who can, John McMurtry of the Lake County Community Fund, said.
In focusing on explaining the orders, Commissioner Kayla Marcella said she wants to clarify for businesses that local government is still subject to state-level public health orders, and are therefore unable to waive restrictions placed by the state.
Marcella also suggested that the subcommittee focus on providing businesses with information on long-term specific goals, such as future relief programming and how to grapple with the slower winter months.
Part of the work to meet these goals will be creating a centralized source businesses can access for the most up-to-date information about public health orders and relief programs.
As retail and food service businesses are allowed more customers, public buildings and places of worship are beginning to open their doors as well.
The Lake County Public Library began a phased reopening process Tuesday to allow a limited number of patrons into the building at one time. Eight people will be allowed to enter the library at any given time, and patrons will be required to wear a face covering while inside.
The library will operate on limited hours for the first week, and on June 22 it will transition to its new schedule of four days a week with limited hours.
The library will continue its curbside pickup and drop off programs while it works through its phased reopening.
As for places of worship, the Lake County Public Health Agency (LCPHA) issued an amended public health order allowing for people to meet in places of worship.
The updated order requires prior approval from LCPHA and limits the size of gatherings to either 50% of a building’s maximum occupancy, or up to 50 people, whichever is less. Gatherings will require social distancing, with at least six feet between attendees, and LCPHA is still encouraging people to attend services remotely.
Additionally, life rites, such as weddings, graduation ceremonies and funerals, will be permitted at places of worship under the same restrictions as regular services.
The amended public health orders came shortly before Governor Jared Polis announced that bars and outdoor venues can resume operating, with limitations, starting June 18.