Chaffee County businesses and residents found to be noncompliant with Chaffee County Public Health Order 2020-02, prohibiting some businesses and activities from operating during COVID-19 precautions, can face hefty fines and possible imprisonment.
Andrea Carlstrom, county public health director and COVID-19 Incident Command, issued a letter Monday explaining the strictures of the public health order that prohibits certain businesses or activities within Chaffee County from operating until midnight April 30, unless further extended.
Carlstrom stated specifically the following are prohibited from operating:
Any public or private mass gatherings greater than 10 people.
Restaurant service (limited to only delivery and carry out services).
All hotels, motels, short-term rental (less than 30 days, such as VRBO/Airbnb), bed and breakfasts, lodges, retreats and similar rentals.
All businesses with a physical facility in the county and are not a defined essential businesses.
Essential, or allowable, businesses are defined in the order and include businesses that provide services and products that are necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and essential needs of the public during this public health pandemic.
“Generally, if you have to ask whether your business is an ‘essential business,’ your business is probably not an essential business and must be closed,” Carlstrom said.
She stressed the county will enforce the order against any noncompliant business or person through civil restraining orders, penalties, fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment in the county jail for 18 months.
“Unfortunately, we will have to take legal action when we find out there is noncompliance in our community,” Carlstrom said Tuesday during the Chaffee County Public Health daily update on Facebook Live.
Chaffee County Public Health asks the public to voluntarily cooperate with the order and close all nonessential businesses, practice social distancing, limit social activities to 10 or fewer people, to stay home and to only visit essential businesses when necessary.
“We understand this order is challenging and difficult and comes with great personal and economic costs,” Carlstrom said.
“We would not have implemented the order if we did not believe COVID-19 posed a greater threat to our community’s health, safety and welfare.
“Chaffee County is a compassionate, strong and vibrant community, and if we work together we can keep our communities safe for our families, friends and neighbors.
“We are all part of Chaffee County; let’s work together to do our part to beat COVID-19.”
For questions about whether you have an essential business or to report a business, hotel or short-term rental that is not in compliance with the order, contact Chaffee County Public Health 719-530-2564.
From our sister paper The Mountain Mail at www.themountainmail.com