County implements 3rd public health order; workers, customers required to wear face masks
Area businesses directed to create mitigation plans by Tuesday
Updated at 7:24 p.m. The commissioners amended the order to no longer stipulate employers to screen employees for COVID-19. It will be self-reported from home.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County Board of Commissioners approved and implemented Friday a public health order that requires people to wear facial coverings and businesses to develop a COVID-19 mitigation plan by next week.
Acting as the Routt County Board of Health, County Commissioners Tim Corrigan, Beth Melton and Doug Monger unanimously approved the public health order directed toward businesses and workers. It is the third public health order issued by the county since the local onset of COVID-19.
The order is based on numerous Board of Health meetings in the last two to three weeks, according to Erick Knaus, attorney for Routt County.
“Time is of the essence,” Monger said. “We are planning for the surge as we move forward spending county resources to take care of this.”
Under the new order, the county will require all critical government functions and businesses in Routt County, where there is more than one person present at any time, to prepare a mitigation protocol by 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The protocol must be posted at or near the entrance of each facility in use and should be easily viewable by the public and employees. The protocol must address the social distancing requirements mandated by the order.
Under the social distancing requirements, all employees and customers must cover their nose and mouth with a nonmedical, cloth covering.
“It’s going to feel very onerous for people,” Corrigan said. But those measures will save lives, he added.
The order further stipulates that adults 60 and older should work from home whenever possible or their employer should provide additional mitigation for those employees.
Businesses are required to ensure that employees and the public can easily maintain a minimum of 6 feet from each other, except for accepting payment, delivering goods, walking past or performing otherwise necessary tasks. Achieving this may require limiting the number of people who can enter or participate in a location at any one time, according to the order.
The order also directs businesses to reduce travel by employees in and out of Routt County.
The order goes into effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
“We have to move quickly on these things. We don’t have time to wait. The intent is really to protect workers and customers and reduce transmission,” Melton said. “Every place where people are interacting is a potential place for transmission.”
Prior to approving the order, commissioners consulted with Routt County Public Health Director Kari Ladrow and Routt County Public Health Medical Officer Dr. Brian Harrington. Discussion was primarily focused on specific wording for several of the order’s guidelines and stipulations.
“No order will be perfect in nature,” Knaus said. “We’re not going to be able to capture every possible scenario.”
Violation of the order comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and possible jail time.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
Before immediately heading to the hospital, people who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 have several resources, including:
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is providing a phone line to answer questions from the public about COVID-19. Call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers in English and Spanish, Mandarin and more.
- UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center offers Ask-A-Nurse, a 24/7 call line staffed by registered nurses who can assess symptoms and provide advice on seeking care. In Routt County, Ask-A-Nurse can be reached by calling 970-871-7878.
- Virtual Visits can be done from the comfort of your home and only require a computer or tablet with a working webcam, speakers and microphone, or a smartphone.
- If patients are experiencing severe symptoms or having difficulty breathing, they should visit the hospital’s emergency department.
Take precautions in everyday life:
- Frequently and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
- Be calm but be prepared.
- Employees at businesses and customers are required to wear a mask, according to a Routt County public health order.
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