Elbert County has received approval of its third variance request from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, excusing it from certain state rules aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic.
This variance allows personal services to be expanded to include situations where a customer is not wearing a mask, and allows sports leagues to return, limiting teams to those within Elbert County, or counties that have low or declining cases of COVID-19.
“This variance is a great example of what we can accomplish when local government, businesses and citizens work together,” said County Commissioner Chris Richardson. “We acted on citizen requests to address what might seem to many like two small items. But these are incredibly important to those affected.”
In the application for variance, commissioners outlined the plan for reopening businesses in the county, including testing, monitoring and tracking cases of COVID-19.
To date, the county had 54 confirmed positive cases of the virus, all of which have been traced to family members and members of the same households. That puts Elbert County in the “low” risk category, according to CDPHE, and the suppression plan submitted by the county was sufficient to meet the criteria for variance.
Jon Hayes, coach of the Elbert County Coyotes girls softball team, and his wife Lisa, reached out to Richardson and asked for help getting youth sports back up and running in the county, which, according to Richardson, was the reason for filing for this latest variance.
“Thank you commissioner! The mental and physical health of our young athletes is greatly improving because your efforts and EPR’s (Elizabeth Parks and Recreation) awesome help to get these kids back on the field,” said Jon Hayes. “There’s going to be some awesome softball played in Elizabeth this weekend and more to come going forward.”
Richardson said they will continue to do whatever is necessary to safely open businesses and provide services to citizens.
“The county is committed to getting back to normal as quickly and safely as possible — not a `new normal,’ not `near normal’ — but back to the lives that were upended in March,” said Richardson.
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