By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
Now that things are opening up again slowly, there are lots of businesses that are doing a great job following the set-forth state requirements, and then there are those that are wanting to push the envelope.
We expect the governor’s office to release some new guidelines in late May. In the meantime, whether you are already open or are planning to open, there are guidelines in place that can help you with your planning.
First on the list is the San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) self-assessment form. This document takes you through cleanliness, signage, social distancing, employee health and much more. This is only for businesses that are open at this time: retail, salons, offices, etc. The guidelines are not in place yet for food establishments. You can access the forms through the SJBPH site at https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.
And while the restaurant guidelines are not specific, businesses can know that employee safety, reduction of the spread of the virus and upscaled sanitation efforts will be in the plan. They can start working on those aspects of their business now.
Also on this site is the new Data Dashboard which gives inquiring minds statistics on La Plata and Archuleta County COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations, trends and some demographics. You can also access the Public Health Order Complaint Tool from this website. SJBPH will not investigate anonymous complaints, you must fill out the report.
If you have a question on the Safer at Home guidelines, one of the better sites to access is the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or CDPHE. You can start with the information at https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home. In addition to a number of useful links, there are detailed guidelines for the businesses that are eligible to be open including retail, personal services, education, noncritical manufacturing, education and more. We expect when more businesses are eligible to open, more guidelines will be added to this page.
Just as a point of clarification for restaurants, outside areas to the restaurant should not be open. These areas are considered as just an extension of your business, whether it be inside the building or outside. Tables set up outside is still considered “dine-in” service and this is not allowed. While it may seem safer outdoors, again, this type of outside dining is still considered dine-in service.
And while the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is not the enforcement agency, we are receiving a significant amount of calls about businesses that are trying to push the envelope. We would hate to see a business get fined or worse because they are not following the state regulations. We understand how frustrating these orders can be and we would like all our businesses to open up tomorrow. However, we must help interpret the guidelines and instruct our business community accordingly. We want to be a safe community and remain healthy. We can only continue to be a safe community with the help of everyone. Hopefully, these websites will help you interpret the correct guidelines.
We are sorry that the cloth masks went so quickly. We have started a waiting list and when more masks are donated, we will try and complete those requests. We do still have posters from SJBPH denoting that masks are required by your business to enter the facility. Please contact us if you still need posters.
Car Show postponed
The Chamber is no exception to the fact that we, too, want to open and hopefully will be able to host some of our events this summer. With guidance for events not yet in place, the Chamber felt it prudent to postpone the Car Show originally scheduled for June 14 and 15. We are looking to see if we can reschedule the event for August. Should large crowds still not be allowed by then, we will have to cancel. However, with all sense of optimism, we hope that we will be able to reschedule the event and host these beautiful cars from around the state and region — just later on in the year. Stay tuned for the rescheduled date.