A degree of progress

Chaffee County Public Health announced late Thursday that the county has received a variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment allowing additional businesses and other entities to open.

The variance relates to restaurants; places of worship; gyms and bowling alley; and outdoor recreation, including campgrounds and RV parks, outfitters and hot springs.

The decision reflects the fact that of 68 total positive coronavirus cases in the county, 51 involved Columbine Manor residents and staff members with 17 from the community. Of 17 deaths directly caused by the virus in the county, 15 were at the care center and two were other county residents.

In addition, since April 11, the county has had just one positive coronavirus case outside of the care center.

Certainly, the state took this information into consideration in its decision granting the variance.

For entities covered under the variance, significant restrictions apply, including maintaining distance requirements, cleanliness and sanitation and limits to numbers of people allowed in facilities, among a host of others.

The variance represents a degree of progress for the county in fighting COVID-19. It reflects that area residents are taking precautions, from wearing face masks in public to social distancing to limiting contact and interactions with others.

While the variance provides for expanded activity for residents, it’s important to keep in mind the restrictions in place.

This will help ensure that the county remains as safe as possible in the days and weeks ahead, as the summer tourism season begins.

A time to remember

Monday is Memorial Day, when Americans pay tribute to those who died in the service of their country.

Memorial Day dates to the end of the Civil War, when communities in both Northern and Southern states began honoring and paying tribute to those who died in the conflict.

At the time it was called Decoration Day, when the graves of those who died wearing Confederate gray or Union blue were decorated with flowers.

Following World War I, Memorial Day became a day to remember all those who died in the nation’s conflicts.

To ensure that the meaning of Memorial Day carries forward, it’s important that today’s youngsters learn and understand why we celebrate this day. Take the time to talk to your kids, grandkids or great-grandkids. Tell them why this day is special – why we take time to honor, to remember.

One way to recognize those who died in defense of America is to point out those with asterisks beside their name on the World War II memorial on the wall of the F Street Five & Dime, representing those killed in the war.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day, for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who died in service to the United States of America.

Congratulations!

Unlike any other, this year’s Salida High School graduation ceremony will be a commencement parade.

Starting at 10 a.m. at the high school, the parade will wind through town, giving graduates the recognition they have earned and deserve, and friends and neighbors a chance to extend their congratulations and best wishes.

To all 2020 graduates, your community wishes you the best in all your future endeavors.

— MJB