Teller County variance request approved by state; restaurants, gyms, movie theaters open with requirements

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TELLER COUNTY, Colo.,– On Saturday, The Teller County Sheriff announced approval of a variance request sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment regarding COVID-19 restrictions.

Commander Greg Couch said restaurants (with the exception of bars and casinos) are able to immediately resume in-person dining, under the following conditions:

  • Place signs at entry points encouraging or requiring (if you choose) customers to wear facial coverings
  • Persons of the same household and close relationships may sit together
  • Maintain six-foot physical distancing in all areas of the restaurant at all times
  • Self-serving stations remain closed
  • Buffets may be open as long as an employee serves the food and patrons are adequately distanced from the food
  • Cloth masks should be worn by employees who have close contact with customers
  • Create physical barriers to reduce physical contact between customers and employees
  • Touchless payment options are recommended
  • Limit the number of customers to adhere to social distancing guidelines

The state said, in addition, the following must also be implemented:

  • Customers must wear face coverings when entering the restaurant until seated at their tables
  • Customers must be asked prior to entering a restaurant whether they have any symptoms of COVID-19, and any customers reporting symptoms must be excluded
  • Try to make accommodations for high-risk individuals (e.g. early opening, Senior hour)
  • Group parties should be limited to six, ideally to members of the same household
  • Place markings on the floor to maintain at least six feet distance in customer lines
  • In-room dining shall follow strict physical distancing (6 feet)
  • Customers should make reservations online or by phone.
  • Every effort should be made to notify customers via text or phone call when their table is ready so there is no waiting in a lobby or outside in line.
  • Self-serving stations shall remain closed (e.g. drinking stations, bulk dry, etc.)
  • No public sharing of utensils or condiments
  • Buffets shall have an employee serving the food, no self-service allowed
  • Employees and contracted workers must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Stagger shifts if feasible to decrease employees at the restaurant where possible
  • Limit reusable items (e.g. menus, condiments)
  • If possible, provide hand sanitizer at tables or in highly used locations
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces and increased frequency of high touch items/areas

The variance approval document states, “in a confined indoor space, in order to achieve 6 ft social distancing, the limit is 50% of the posted occupancy code limit ensuring a minimum 28 sq feet per person not to exceed more than 175 people at any given time.”

Bars and casinos are NOT allowed to open, although the state will be issuing guidance around casinos soon, according to the state.

Additional guidelines for places of worship, gyms, movie theaters, were also outlined in the document.

>>Click here to read the full variance request response from the state.

>>Click here to read the full variance request letter (including additional requirements) sent to the state from Teller County.

On May 8, Teller County submitted a variance request seeking to reduce the negative economic impact of the Public Health Order.

According to the letter, the data and information reveals Teller County has only had 16 cases of COVID-19 and an additional 14 epidemiologically linked cases.

Teller County has only had two cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

According to the documents, if the county’s threshold of 15 more cases in a week occurs, this variance will be automatically rescinded. The CDPHE reserves the right to modify or rescind the variance approval as circumstances warrant.

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