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Our view: Do the right thing for the benefit of community

As of Monday, Routt County’s COVID-19 case count had increased to 230 positive cases, and it was reported a 72-year-old man had died from coronavirus complications, marking the county’s first death outside of an assisted living facility.

This uptick in cases and a ninth coronavirus-related death should be a reminder to local residents that the epidemic has not gone away. With winter approaching, it’s imperative that locals and visitors continue to take COVID-19 seriously and abide by local public health orders to ensure businesses remain open, kids can go to school and the community stays healthy.

And while it would be tempting to overreact to the increase in cases, we hope the Routt County Board of Health will continue to act with measured resolve. After spending months educating the public about COVID-19 containment measures, the reasonable enforcement of existing regulations is the best path forward.

A heavy-handed response is not necessary. Instead, county leaders would be wise to implement a rational, enforceable policy similar to the state’s alcohol compliance check system that is proven to work. Businesses are also encouraged to proactively police themselves by reviewing their COVID-19 mitigation plan and making sure they are in compliance with state and county health protocols to minimize spread and avoid unnecessary shutdowns.

And on the individual level, we encourage residents and visitors to follow the Five Commitments of Containment:

• I will maintain 6 feet of social distance.

• I will wash my hands often.

• I will cover my face in public.

• I will stay home if I am at risk or when I am sick.

• I will seek testing immediately if I have symptoms.

With the holidays approaching, this message must be shared with visitors, and locals would be well advised to limit gatherings and possibly avoid travel all together.

At a glance

At issue: The cases of COVID-19 in Routt County are on the rise.

Our View: As the winter season approaches, it’s time to recommit to following the guidelines established by public health officials to keep the community safe and ensure businesses can remain open.

Editorial Board• Logan Molen, publisher

• Lisa Schlichtman, editor

• Kevin Fisher, community representative

• George Danellis, community representative

Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.

We acknowledge the extraordinary challenges facing our local restaurants and bars and the ski resort, and we’re all going to have to make adjustments during the winter months to ensure that all businesses can keep their doors open when the cold weather forces people inside. Agree with them, or not, Gov. Polis has established policies and protocols that are tied to rates of COVID infection, and we don’t want to return to where we found ourselves in March with ski areas shut down and people confined to their homes under stay-at-home orders.

To avoid that, we must return to doing the right thing for the benefit of the entire community. We may not like wearing a mask, or avoiding inside gatherings of friends and family, but we must navigate within the parameters established by the governor, because if our cases continue to rise, public health officials will have no choice but to tighten restrictions, which could have a devastating effect on our local economy and personal mental health.

In closing, we want to share this email that was sent out by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation on Monday, which we think sums up the mindset that will be needed to safely navigate the upcoming winter months.

“Here in the Yampa Valley, our strong sense of community promotes neighborliness, welcomes newcomers and creates a place where we want to raise kids, make friends, start businesses, recreate and retire. We know each other to be genuine, kind, hardworking and generous. We may come from different backgrounds and experiences, but together, we share a love for our landscape and community. And as we’ve witnessed during the pandemic, we take care of each other. At this time of great uncertainty, stress and anxiety, let us remember who we are as a Yampa Valley community. Let’s continue to show up for our community and the values that we share.” — The Yampa Valley Community Foundation

This message reminds us why it’s important to keep working together to achieve an outcome that is good for the individual, good for the community and good for the vitality of the local economy. We’re in this together — let’s be patient with another and not stop doing the right things now.


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