Message from the mayor of Crested Butte

Crested Butte Community Members:

We are in unprecedented times in recent history for Crested Butte with COVID-19/coronavirus making its presence known. Things are evolving quickly and dramatic impacts are being felt throughout our Valley and around the world. Impacts will be felt both while the virus runs its course here and through an as of yet unknown period of recovery.

It is times like these that can test the strength and resiliency of a community. I am confident that the Crested Butte community can and will come through this challenge stronger than we began as we have many times before during incidents like the frozen water main in the 1970s, and the bank explosion 30 years ago.

The Town is continuing to work closely with our partners at the State and County level to best manage the situation. It has been a wild week with constant news updates and seemingly sudden changes to community operations. The county has issued a “Second Amended Health Order” that covers all of Gunnison County including the town of Crested Butte. We ask that you respect and follow the “Order” for your safety and the safety of all in town.

Mountain Express has suspended operations, which we know will be a hardship on some people.

We do not take these decisions lightly and understand there are serious implications for families and businesses. The Council wants to support our businesses the best we can during this time and in that vein we encourage people to shop local online when you can, eat take-out or buy gift cards to use another time.

I support these steps that have been taken in an effort to raise awareness of the spread of this highly contagious virus and limit the spread. During this time there are still opportunities to maintain some normalcy in our lives. We can find ways to enjoy the outdoors while following recommended advice for personal safety, compare notes on keeping kids occupied and learning at home and take time to call a neighbor to see if you can pick anything up for them while you are out.

The Town will continue providing essential services though with limited direct contact with the public. While we cannot welcome the public into Town Hall at this time, we can take your calls, answer questions and take appointments if the need arises. Snow plowing, Marshals services and utilities will continue as usual to serve the community.

The Town has deferred the March 20 deadline for February sales tax due to the Town until the March filing deadline of April 20. I urge landlords for both commercial and residential properties to consider waiving or delaying rent payments for those whose income is impacted by this pandemic.

We are challenged in our town more than many places in the world because of all our visitors from across the globe and also because we like to travel as well. All of this increases our potential for exposure to the virus. Be aware of those in your neighborhood who are more at risk, those over 60, those who have had respiratory difficulties in the past, and perhaps those who are self-quarantining. Give them a hand if you can.

We need our individual businesses to take precautions, sanitizing counters, constantly washing hands, etc. Please utilize the safety orders that have been provided by Gunnison County regarding limitations on group sizes and cleaning protocols.

There will undoubtedly be an economic effect on the town. I wish I could tell you how long this will last. I don’t think anyone has a grasp on that.

While I do hope this issue resolves quickly, it may be a while before life returns to normal. Let’s not give up on hugs and hive fives, but try to make them virtual for now. Feel free to reach out to myself, council members or staff with any questions. In the meantime, I hope you will please join me in following the consistent advice of health officials around the world:

Protect yourself:

—Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or touching your mouth and nose.

—Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

—If you are sick, stay home.

—Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

—Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What to do if you think you are sick:

—Stay home if you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

—Wear a mask or cover your cough and sneeze.

—Wash your hands frequently and don’t share personal items (drinking glass or utensils) with others.

—Call your healthcare provider. Do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or the emergency department unannounced.

—Your doctor’s office will assess your illness on the phone and provide information or guidance for you, household members, and other close contacts.

—Testing for COVID-19 is not a routine test. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and risk for the disease based on guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Since many of the illnesses are mild, we expect most COVID-19 patients will be isolated in their own home to rest and recover. If possible, sleep in a bedroom and use a bathroom that is not used by other household members.

—There is no antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids will likely be helpful for recovery. Only the most critically ill will be hospitalized.

Public Health officials also recommend residents prepare for an emergency that might require them to stay at home for several days, including having food supplies, water, and medications.

Crested Butte Town Council, Jim Schmidt, mayor

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