Larimer County granted partial variance allowing limited reopenings of restaurants, gyms, more

Variance not granted for county bars, child care facilities, day camps, outdoor group activities
estes park elk
Posted at 3:45 PM, May 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 20:25:15-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – Larimer County was granted a partial variance Friday to begin reopening restaurants, gyms, theaters, camping, and some other places on a limited basis and to start allowing some public gatherings.

The county submitted its request on May 15 and it was granted Friday. According to the variance granted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, public gatherings of between 10 and 50 people would be allowed if a building has enough square footage and can allow for at least 6 feet of distancing between all people there.

Plans on the space and area used for such gatherings would have to be submitted to the county and face coverings will be required. For more information on the variance and process for businesses, click here.

Click here to read the full variance request
Click here to read the variance granted by CDPHE

The variance allows for loosened restrictions on public gatherings, indoor malls, personal services, restaurants, general recreation and camping, graduation, places of worship, gyms, theaters, bowling alleys, pools, the rental of recreational equipment, short-term lodging and libraries if they meet certain requirements outlined by the county and state.

Restaurants will limit their indoor capacity to 30% of normal and up to 60% of capacity for outdoor areas.

For indoor spaces, more than 50% of the occupancy code limit would not be allowed. Indoor mall operators will have to submit a plan to Larimer County Public Health addressing distancing and hygiene practices and how to limit the number of people inside.

Schools hoping to hold graduations will also have to submit plans to Larimer County Public Health.

CDPHE Executive Director wrote that the department was not granting variances to allow the county to loosen restrictions for now on bars, child care facilities, day camps, outdoor group activities or long-term care facilities but said that the county can submit another request for those facilities once new guidance is released.

Ryan wrote that the county’s variance would be automatically rescinded if there are 25 new cases or 10% of people tested test positive in the county on three days over a 14-day period; if there are 15 new hospital admissions per day of presumptive cases on three days in a 14-day period; or if 65 or more patients are being treated for COVID-19 throughout the two major hospital systems in Larimer County.

The county and CDPHE said there were sufficient early warning indicators in place to monitor those changes.

“We are pleased that the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has approved these requests and that our community can continue taking a measured approach to reopening. We've appreciated the opportunity to work with local businesses to find innovative and creative ways to resume services carefully,” says Tom Gonzales, Public Health Director for Larimer County. “The health department will continue to collaborate with our hospitals daily to monitor capacity triggers and are confident that we can slowly reopen business ahead of the statewide safer at home restrictions.”

As of Saturday afternoon, 26 counties had seen variances granted in Colorado.