FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. — Certain types of businesses are now able to reopen in Fremont County, after the state approved a variance request Thursday morning.
The variance allows for “limited reopening for certain industries and businesses in Fremont County while maintaining a sustainable level of social distancing,” according to the Fremont County Health Department. The variance applies to the whole county, including cities and towns like Cañon City. It took effect at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Cañon City Mayor Ahsley Smith said they anxiously awaited to hear back whether or not the variance would be approved or not.
“We only had less than a handful go to the hospital for coronavirus. So we were like were doing fantastic! Why are we shut down?” Mayor Smith explained.
The variance allows for limited reopening of restaurants, places of worship, fitness facilities, outfitters, and recreation. The county has issued specific guidelines that each type of business must follow.
Mayor Smith said the approval happened just in time for their very busy summer tourism season.
“This is a kick off week and if they couldn’t open in the next couple of days they would have to shut down for the rest of 2020,” Mayor Smith said.
She stated that the Royal Gorge Route Railroad hires 300 people within the county.
“We are a safe community. We are a rural community and there is a lot of advantage to that,” Mayor Smith said.
FOX21 News spoke with some business owners in the area who received the email about being able to open back up. Majority were excited about the next step but some said they have to make some changes before being able to open up while still following the new guidelines.
“If it’s 30 percent dine-in and take-out along with that, it’s worth it. But we have to follow the guidelines to make sure everyone is safe,” Lalit Gurung, the Co-Owner Nirvana Culinary Paradise in Cañon City said.
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