By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce
An announcement on Friday, Feb. 5, indicating that Archuleta and La Plata counties would be moving to a lesser dial restriction is great news to many businesses. However, along with the dial change certainly comes some tighter controls making moving between dial restriction colors more possible and a guideline that we will have to be very cognizant of.
Dial 2.0 is the new state-determined metrics which we will be following. Archuleta County has moved into Level Blue, which is a far cry from the Level Orange that we were positioned at. This allows our restaurants to serve at 50 percent capacity, still with 6-foot spacing and appropriate ventilation. Alcohol sales will also be moved back to midnight from 10 p.m.
One of the biggest changes to the change in color level will be indoor events, which certainly came to a screeching halt in 2020. With a maximum capacity of 50 percent, indoor events can accommodate 175 people at Level Blue and 100 people at Level Yellow. Outdoor events can increase to 250 people in Level Blue and up to 175 in Level Yellow. This is great news, especially for the Chamber, as we hope to get back to our monthly Business After Hours networking events. Of course, with all these events, masking and cleanliness is still encouraged to avoid moving into a higher dial level color.
San Juan Basin Public Health does anticipate both counties to move between dial levels more frequently due to the metric changes. The number of cases per 100,000 people is reduced from the previous guidelines. With the smaller population in Pagosa Springs, a small change in case numbers could certainly move our dial level fairly frequently, unless we see case stability and continued healthy vigilance. Our positivity rate must also remain within a reduced range, also causing potential increased fluctuation in color levels. It will be important for our businesses to know what dial level color we are in and to adhere and conduct business within those guidelines.
As for the anticipated 5-Star program, we are in a holding pattern as there are new restrictions for operating a 5-Star program depending on the level. Since we are in Level Blue, we believe that 70 percent of 70-year-olds must have received at least one vaccination. We are looking for more clarification on this newly approved 5-Star program for Archuleta County. We hope that with continued safety precautions, we will be able to allow our businesses to operate at the maximum level possible.
Small Business Relief Grant extended and minor positive change announced
The Small Business Relief Grant that was being administered by Archuleta County has been extended until Feb. 26. The businesses that can qualify are still the same: food service, including restaurants, bars, food trucks and caterers; gyms; fitness centers; and movie theaters.
To clarify what documentation needs to occur, a business must show a reduction in revenue of 20 percent from 2019 income in any quarter since March 26, 2020. Many businesses had to close their doors in April and May and so can easily demonstrate a loss in revenue. You do not have to show a loss for the whole of 2020 compared to 2019, only any quarter in 2020 compared to 2019.
We hope that this announcement will encourage more of these industry businesses to file for the grant money available. Because it is a grant, the money extended will not need to be paid back. Businesses with total revenues under $500,000 will be eligible for $3,500; businesses between $500,000 and $1 million will be eligible to receive $5,000; and businesses with yearly revenues between $1 million and $2.5 million can be eligible for $7,000.
The form is very easy to fill out. Documentation of the loss during the quarter is required, along with proper state documents such as a certificate of good standing, payment of unemployment taxes if applicable and valid state or liquor license.
Don’t miss this extended opportunity to obtain some grant funds to assist your business. Questions can be directed to Mary Helminski at 264-8308 or Mary Jo Coulehan at 264-2360.