State approves El Paso County variance for restaurants, private events, shuttles

Coronavirus
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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. – On Monday, El Paso County received news that both the multi-sector variance request submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on June 9 and the increased capacity variance request submitted on June 24 were approved almost in their entirety, effective immediately.

The variance requests as they were initially submitted requested increased capacity for a variety of sectors and activities.

Under the approved request from CDPHE, the following are now approved at the capacities listed below:

  • Specified Indoor Businesses and Activities
    • Can now operate at a capacity up to the lesser of 50 percent occupancy or 175 people per confined indoor space.
    • Includes gyms, athletic training facilities, Indoor Water Park at Great Wolf Lodge, theaters, indoor malls, libraries, restaurants, indoor private events such as receptions and business meetings, indoor attractions such as museums and art galleries, and indoor recreation activities such as park nature centers, bowling alleys, ice rinks, laser tag, indoor gun ranges, escape rooms, and Nerfgun battles.
  • Specified Outdoor Businesses and Activities
    • Can now operate at a capacity up to the lesser of 50 percent occupancy or 250 people per designated activity.
    • Includes outdoor attractions such as outdoor museums and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, outdoor recreation activities such as paintball, miniature golf courses, and go-kart tracks, and outdoor private events such as receptions and family reunions.
  • Amusement parks, such as Cave of the Winds and Santa’s Workshop are NOT included. We are seeking further clarification from CDPHE.
  • Shuttles, buses and vans
    • Must continue operating at the lesser of 50 percent capacity or the maximum that can be accommodated with six-foot distancing.

“This approval represents the collective efforts of our incredible community partners, working together to forge a path forward with innovative and safe solutions,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County Public Health Medical Director. “While we are excited to learn of this most recent approval, we want to remind residents that our continued success as a community depends on our ability to  remain diligent in practicing prevention measures such as wearing a mask in public, practicing physical distancing,  frequently washing hands with soap and water, and staying home when sick.”

“I am very pleased that CDPHE has approved this variance for multiple industries. This policy recognizes that business facilities are not all the same size, and that customer visitation logically is scaled according to capacity,” said Dirk Draper, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. “With this, Public Health has just saved time for scores of businesses in our region, and again is leading the way with innovation.”

“The fact that we received this approval is a sign of all the hard work our citizens and our local governments have done to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Board Chair Mark Waller. “As Commissioners, we are proud to have supported this broad-based, collaborative approach to getting our economy on track and people back to work. This is a great step towards our region’s positive response, recovery, and resiliency to COVID-19.”

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