Chaffee County issued a Standing Public Health Order Wednesday related to COVID-19 stressing closures and restrictions to avoid overcrowding and accidental social gathering to reduce spread of contact.

The county has ordered all lodging businesses, including hotels, motels, time-shares and short-term rentals, to be closed immediately for leisure purposes, but county officials clarified in a press release that locals do not need to vacate if they live in housing that is considered a short-term rental.

Any emergency lodging needs to be authorized by the public health director.

“The Standing Public Health Order does not evict local workers living in housing that would otherwise fall under the short-term lodging category,” Andrea Carlstrom, county public health director, said.

“If anyone has a lodging situation in question or may be considered an emergency, they should call Chaffee County Public Health at 719-539-4510 to let our department know their circumstances.”

Visitors to Chaffee County are asked to return home immediately, and anyone considering visiting Chaffee County should remain home to mitigate spread of COVID-19.

Following the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s public order on Monday, the county has ordered many businesses to close until the local order can be reviewed on April 7 with county commissioners, and only certain businesses, such as banks, hardware stores, grocery stores, liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, pharmacies and gas stations are to remain open but are strongly encouraged to follow public health guidance to limit group size.

Retail food establishments are allowed to remain open only if they are providing takeout or delivery services. Only five people can wait at a time for takeout per the state health department’s order.

Many dining establishments are still offering to-go food options and deliveries. A comprehensive list of restaurants that are providing takeout/curbside pickup has been compiled by Partnership for Community Action and can be found on Facebook under “Take Out Salida.” Restaurant lists also can be found on page 10 of today’s Mountain Mail and on the Heart of the Rockies radio website, heartoftherockiesradio.com.

All public and private events and gatherings are limited to 10 people or less. Carlstrom said the Chaffee County community is strongly directed to limit activity outside the household, engage in social distancing and to only participate in social gatherings through online forums and formats.

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