KEEP EAGLE COUNTY BUSINESSES IN BUSINESS - SUPPORT THE 5 STAR VARIANCE PROTECTION PROGRAM

November 30, 2020

Governor Jared Polis

Eagle County Board of Commissioners

RE:      REQUEST FOR SUPPORT OF THE 5 STAR VARIANCE PROTECTION PROGRAM

Dear Governor Polis and Eagle County Commissioners,

This letter, signed by Eagle County Elected Officials and supported by many Eagle County businesses and residents, respectfully asks that you help save our business community. Please support a program in Eagle County similar to the 5 Star Variance Protection Program ongoing in Mesa County which has been well received by the State of Colorado.  

The program would add new, more restrictive guidelines and protocols for restaurant and retail establishments to follow, thus creating a safer environment for our residents and visitors. The implementation of such a program in Eagle County should prompt the State to approve a modest variance to increase occupancy for participating businesses so they may survive not just this season, but for years to come.

Severe business occupancy limits and closures result in employees spending much more time at home, proliferating the very private gatherings identified by our Public Health Department as the primary source of spread of Covid-19 in our community. We believe that businesses open at safe levels, employees at work, students in school, and shoppers and diners in full compliance with the public health orders is the safest and best path forward for all. We are committed to vigorously monitoring all public health orders in our establishments.

A 5-Star Program will improve the economic health of our community without jeopardizing public health by giving participants a responsible way to remain open for their patrons and employees.

As written, the State's "Red" category on the Covid-19 dial is highly punitive to restaurants and retail businesses by restricting in-person dining and shopping, while leaving other sectors virtually untouched. Lodging capacity is unrestricted - visitors are here and more are coming. These visitors, the lifeblood of our local economy in good times and bad, simply must be accommodated by restaurants and retail. Unlike the initial weeks of the pandemic last spring, every visitor and resident is acutely aware of the risks of COVID-19 and will partner with us to ensure safe encounters for all. 

We ask that you, our Eagle County Commissioners and Governor of Colorado, support a variance program similar to Mesa County's that establishes higher public health standards for our restaurant and retail establishments to allow them to remain open.

Please grant us the opportunity to save our winter season and the livelihoods of all who depend on it. The attached petition reflects the support throughout Vail and Eagle County business community.

We look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Please note the point of contacts for this discussion include the following representatives:

 

Chris Romer, Vail Valley Partnership -  cromer@vailvalleypartnership.com

Jenn Bruno, Town of Vail - jbruno@vailgov.com

Sarah Smith-Hymes, Town of Avon -  shymes@avon.org

 

Sincerely,

 Town of Vail

Dave Chapin, Mayor
Kim Langmaid, Mayor Pro Tem
Jenn Bruno, Councilor
Travis Coggin, Councilor
Kevin Foley, Councilor
Jen Mason, Councilor 

Town of Avon

Sarah Smith-Hymes, Mayor
Amy Phillips, Mayor Pro Tem
Scott Prince, Councilor
Chico Thuon, Councilor
Tamra Underwood, Councilor
Jake Wolf, Councilor
Jennie Fancher, Councilor 

Town of Eagle
Scott Turnipseed, Mayor
Andy Jessen, Mayor ProTem
David Gaboury, Council Member
Ellen Bodenhemier, Council Member
Adam Palmer, Council Member
Pappy Kerst, Council Member
Matt Solomon, Council Member 

Town of Minturn
John Widerman, Mayor
Earle Bidez, Mayor Pro Tem
Terry Armistead, Councilor
Gusty Kanakis, Councilor
Brian Eggleton, Councilor
George Brodin, Councilor 

Beaver Creek Merchant Association
Bob Boselli, Chairman

Vail Valley Partnership
Chris Romer, Executive Director

Vail Chamber & Business Association
Alison Wadey, Executive Director

Beaver Creek Resort Company
Jen Brown, Managing Director

Update #12 months ago
Please provide feedback to the state's proposed program: https://bit.ly/2JzNSXp
Cut and paste these bullets to the form:
Recognize program at Level Red.
Restaurant tables spacing at 6 ft.
Businesses cited for noncompliance eligible for certification if offense is remedied.
Transit agencies in program should be allowed higher rider capacity.

Read the full update here https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vS0VbTRXDht1K_Age-jpF7M0F1M-ZnVNf28ACr-2rMbu0vjVBiharT-7DKiT_D3NZ-vBpuMSpy7OHcA/pub
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