DENVER — The state health department released finalized guidelines for ski resorts on Monday as many gear up for the season while managing COVID-19 concerns.
The guidance, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said, goes into effect immediately and includes things like limiting cohort groups and isolation housing.
>> Video above: Summit County Health, resorts near final approval of ski season plans
"Ski areas are a vital driver of the Colorado economy," CDHPE said in a news release. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, these areas also present unique challenges for controlling virus transmission. A successful ski season will require a strong partnership between ski areas, local governments, local businesses, and the state."
CDPHE said the guidelines draw from existing and well-known COVID-19 guidelines including:
- Physical distancing of at least 6 feet between parties.
- Wearing masks to the maximum extent possible.
- Health screening and symptom tracking.
- Isolating and quarantining, as required.
And new "baseline standards" were established to "create common expectations for mountain-specific activities," CDPHE said, such as:
- Isolation housing to create opportunities for visiting guests to safely isolate and quarantine themselves in the event that they test positive or need to quarantine during their stay and cannot travel.
- Ensuring safe employee housing environments.
- Limiting ski school cohorts/groups to no more than 10 people.
- Prioritizing the immediate safety and sheltering needs of guests and staff due to extreme weather events when in conflict with these COVID-19 guidelines.
“Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director at CDPHE. “We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary. We’ve been grateful for the cooperation of ski and resort areas. Our top priority is the safety of Coloradans and ensuring the health care systems in these areas aren’t overrun.”
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