Governor Polis says visitors are good for economy but they must abide by state guidelines

Tourists visiting Colorado during a pandemic
Posted at 8:30 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 22:44:52-04

DENVER — Even in the middle of a pandemic, there’s no shortage of things to do in Denver.

Nikki Barreto says she came to Denver from New Mexico to celebrate her birthday.

"We’ve been talking about taking a trip up here and that was one of the reasons that we decided to come, especially because there’s low COVID cases," said Barreto.

And she's not alone.

"Denver numbers are a lot lower than some of the other places so we thought it would be okay to still come", said Mark Weber, who was visiting from Iowa.

For General Manager of Cherry Cricket Ballpark, Samanthan Taxin, she’s seen the increase in tourists first-hand.

"Three parties out of five when we’re checking their IDs are from out of state. Florida, California, Michigan, Texas," said Taxin.

As long as people follow the public health guidelines, Taxin has no issue welcoming them into town.

But that’s not the case for everyone in the restaurant industry.

A waitress for a Landry’s restaurant, Summer Schaufelberger, said many of the tourists she talks to are having to constantly be reminded of the state’s guidelines.

"I’m having to baby sit and mandate strangers and adults to have respect during a global pandemic. If you have the means to travel right now, you have the means to do the research," Schaufelberger said.

Which raises the question: Should people be traveling as Colorado is seeing an upward trend in COVID-19 cases?

Professor Glen Mays at the University of Colorado says he’s seeing many people traveling from bordering states.

"Real concern is where we’ve got people interacting in indoor settings, restaurants or commercial spaces where there’s a high risk of disease transmission and that combined with the potential of inadequate social distancing and inconsistent wearing of masks", said Mays.

Governor Polis said visitors are good for Colorado’s economy, but they must abide by state laws.

"We do also have tourists from the hotspots in town and that’s one of the reasons why the mask wearing requirement is so important for ourselves as well as them," Polis said.

It's a delicate balance between economic recovery and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.