COLORADO, USA — Governor Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has issued an executive order suspending all of Colorado's downhill ski area operations for one week due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. A number of Colorado ski resorts had already announced they would be suspending operations beginning on Sunday, March 15.
Vail Resorts, Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Snowmass, Telluride, Arapahoe Basin, and Loveland all announced closures Saturday. Telluride and Aspen Snowmass indicated on social media ahead of Polis' announcement that he would be ordering all of Colorado's resorts to close.
Eldora said Sunday it would be closed between March 15 and March 22. The suspension will include all lift operations, food, and beverage, ski and ride school, retail and rental services, as well as all alpine, Nordic, and uphill skiing.
Polis released this statement Saturday evening:
“Never would I have believed that a global pandemic would force the temporary closure of our world-class ski resorts. I have been skiing since I was four years old. Our family has had a place in Vail for three decades. And, like so many Colorado families, we were planning a ski trip with our kids over their spring break next weekend. Beyond being a major part of our way of life, skiing supports our workers and businesses. For those of us who treasure living our lives outdoors, sacrificing our fun is the easier part; but for those who depend on employment in our Colorado high country, the uncertainty of how long they will be out of a job is terrifying. It is with a profound sense of pain and grim responsibility that I take the agonizing action that this moment demands. I take solace in knowing that while we will be temporarily closed for business, we will be saving the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Coloradans in the days and weeks ahead.”
A spokesperson for Polis said the governor couldn't wait any longer: “The Governor spent Saturday on the phone with resort community county commissioners, community public health officials, their community emergency operations command and several mountain hospitals and what became clear from those conversations was that given the conditions on the ground and the rapid spread of the virus, the time to act was now.”
The order is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 and conserve medical resources in Colorado's mountain communities, according to a release.
The release said Polis would continue to monitor the course of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state and may amend the executive order accordingly.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Local stories from 9NEWS