Summit County Moved to Level Green on May 5, 2021 at 12:01am
Exactly 14 months after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Summit County and Colorado on March 5, 2020, Summit County will move to what can be described as a lot closer to “2019 normal”, Level Green as outlined in the public health order. Physical distancing and face coverings will still be in our lives for a bit, but occupancy limits are allowing businesses to welcome guests at former levels if they choose.
How did we get here?
- Summit County residents met the challenge and reduced the COVID-19 case incidence rate in Summit County to less than 100 for more than seven (7) consecutive days.
- Summit got vaccinated and continues to get vaccinated because residents have shown that they understand and appreciate that this individual choice and action has a community impact. To date, Summit County has vaccinated 73.6% of the resident population (16 +) with at least one dose, and 59.6% of residents have been fully vaccinated. Of the county’s population of residents 70 and older, 75.8% have been fully vaccinated.
Will we go back to more restrictions?
- The only way that Summit would go back to more restrictions is if our local hospital reaches 80% of surge capacity OR if the regional hospital system reaches 85% of surge capacity.
- Don’t party like it’s 2019! This means that staying home if you are sick, washing your hands more than your ever thought reasonable, getting tested for COVID if you have the symptoms, and getting vaccinated will all be strategies to keep us healthy, businesses open, and hanging out with friends and family.
What has changed?
A LOT! Yay! Woot Woot! Don’t put your face coverings in storage yet though.
- There are no more capacity restrictions or six-foot spacing requirements for businesses, including but not limited to restaurants, retail, personal services, personal fitness, offices, transportation services, etc… Be aware that businesses may still have their own restrictions on capacity and spacing, which they are within their rights to implement as a private business.
- Face coverings will still be required indoors in public spaces and will be required outdoors whenever individuals will be within 6 feet of each other for more than 15 minutes; no need for face coverings if you are quickly passing someone on a trail or on the rec path.
- The Summit County Physical Distancing Protocol (PDP) is no longer mandatory for businesses, but businesses are still encouraged to use the protocols as guidance and are required to prevent staff from working if they know that staff are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- The 5 Star program is going away (except for indoor events), but we encourage 5 Star businesses to keep the ramped up sanitation, air filtering, and outdoor dining options (not everyone will be hip on eating inside within six feet of other people) and always encourage sick employees to stay home. Thank you 5 Star businesses; you helped get us here!
Are there any restrictions still in place?
Yes. There will still be face covering requirements (but they’re a bit different) and limits on indoor events.
- Indoor events are inherently places where folks gather in close proximity and in high numbers with people outside of their household so there are still restrictions on indoor events.During mass indoor gatherings when more than 100 people are gathered in a room in a public indoor space, the setting may operate at 100% capacity not to exceed 500 people, with six feet distancing required between parties of unvaccinated people or when vaccination status is unknown. Attendees and staff will still need to wear face coverings unless seated and actively eating and drinking. This means that folks at a wedding will still need to wear a mask and may not stand and socialize while eating and drinking without a mask. Existing approved variances remain in effect, including 5 Star Program approvals granted by Summit County. Venues may apply to Summit Public Health for a variance to exceed 500 people, to be finally approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.These indoor event requirements do not apply to the following sectors:
- Places of worship and associated ceremonies,
- Retail services,
- Restaurants that have sit-down dining and do not have unseated areas where 100 or more people could gather (such as dance floors or common gathering areas), and
- School proms and graduations that wish to exceed these thresholds shall be subject to review and approval by local public health agencies in accordance with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment prom and graduation guidance.
- Face Coverings
- In quick summary, face coverings will still be required indoors in public settings, but significant clarification was added for the use of face coverings.
- Face coverings are still required for public indoor areas, businesses open to the general public, and at outdoor events when individuals will be within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes, for example an outdoor concert or a parade.
- Face coverings are NOT required in the following situations:
- A band playing at a local bar does not need masks as long as the audience is more than 25 feet away,
- Alone, or with others from their household, in a room in a public indoor space such as a sauna or exercise room,
- Private meetings or workplace spaces where all persons are vaccinated and the public does not have access,
- Physical activities such as swimming, wrestling, spirit or other sports where helmets/mouth guards interfere with the mask and wearing a mask poses a physical or breathing hazard to the wearer.
- Hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication,
- Receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the mask is necessary to perform the service,
- Entering a business or receiving services and are asked to temporarily remove a mask for identification purposes,
- Actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel that prevents the user from safely wearing a mask,
- Officiating or participating in a life rite or religious service where the temporary removal of a mask is necessary to complete or participate in the life rite or religious service,
- Giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, if the audience is at least 25 feet away from the speaker. The audience members must wear masks.
At this time mask wearing requirements for public venues like restaurants, retail, personal services, personal fitness providers, etc.. where the public is invited and expected or at indoor events will not be relaxed based on vaccination status of business staff or attendees/customers.
- Keeping washing your hands. I haven’t had a cold all year, and it’s been nice.
- Stay home if you are sick. Bringing COVID, a cold, or the stomach flu to a party is just not polite. Bringing a seven-layer dip with chips is polite.
- Yep- get vaccinated. All three vaccines are available and FREE at locations across Summit County, including Summit County Public Health, at mobile vaccine clinics, and at your favorite local pharmacy. You don’t need an appointment, but feel free to make one. Drop ins are welcome, and location, reservation, and mobile clinic information is available on the Summit County vaccination page. Vaccination tip- arrive well rested, well hydrated, and eat a little snack before your appointment. Ok- that’s a tip that works for a lot of things!
- Get tested. The mystery and anxiety of thinking your sniffle might be COVID is just not worth it. Go get a free test for peace of mind. They don’t touch your brain, results are returning much faster, and your positive result will not send Summit County back into Level Red; it will just give you peace of mind and information so you can care for your health. Find out about free Summit County testing sites here.
- Take care of yourself. That means reaching out if you are having physical and/or mental health issues. The Summit Community Care Clinic offers phenomenal care at a low cost, and Building Hope can hook you up with free mental healthcare and other resources so you can be your happiest and best self. Or call Colorado Crisis Services right now for immediate support 24 hours a day- 844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255.
- Take the kind road and not the troll road. It’s been a rough year so choose kindness whether in person or online. Yes, you can disagree kindly.
- Level Clear? We wonder if they will call it that? It’s around the corner. Life has changed, but it always does, just not usually in such abrupt and extreme ways. Celebrations are around the corner too. Look at for the band announcement for Concerts in the Park happening Thursdays from June 17 through September 2; Frisco Town Council added three more concerts than usual!
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Summit County COVID info line at 970-668-9730 Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm