ASPEN, Colo. — Pitkin County isn't asking anyone to cancel a ski trip, but people do have to test negative for COVID-19 before they visit.
New rules take effect Dec. 14 requiring all visitors planning to stay at least one night in Pitkin County to fill out an online traveler affidavit confirming a negative COVID-19 test result.
Visitors must be symptom-free for 10 days, and the negative test result must come within 72 hours of arriving in the county. Visitors also have the option of quarantining for 10 days or until they receive a negative test result.
“On some level, it’s a pledge," said Tracy Trulove, Pitkin County public information officer for COVID-19 response. "It’s a pledge that you’re coming to our community. You’re trying to be as safe as possible and adopt the values that we’re trying to have our whole community adopt, which is to stamp down transmission of COVID.”
Trulove said the county board of health brought the idea forward and worked with a task force to develop the rules. Pitkin County is the only county in the state currently planning to require visitors to test for COVID-19.
“I would say Pitkin County is a bold place," Trulove said. "This is a place that isn’t afraid to go out and go against the tide to try something and see how it works.”
Once people fill out the affidavit, they'll receive a confirmation email. Visitors who violate the public health order could face a $5,000 fine, Trulove said.
“The compliance piece is tricky," she said. "Because there’s not a lot of enforcement around it. It’s a little bit of a, you know, on your honor, asking you to fill this out and do these things, but there is a chance our public health team could do spot checking.”
Trulove said the county asked hotels, lodges, the airport, Aspen Ski Company and others to help spread the word about the traveler affidavit.
“We don’t want to see the frontline folks at the lodges be in a situation where they have to – they’re not asked to do compliance," Trulove said. "They’re really just asked to educate.”
In a statement sent to 9NEWS, Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications for Aspen Ski Company, said the resort had not been asked to act as enforcement agents for the county's health orders.
"We will rely on the integrity of our visitors to be forthcoming and honest," Hanle wrote. "We will continue to work closely with the county and state on all health protocols on our mountains and in our lodging properties, however enforcement of the County affidavit is not included in our operating plan."
Pitkin County leaders announced the new requirements Friday, but wanted to give stakeholders a chance to understand them before they took effect, Trulove said.
“We’re not going to make everybody happy in this," Trulove said. "I mean, that’s been the challenge with COVID no matter what you do.”
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