Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Latest Gunnison County health order requires face coverings

Latest Gunnison County health order requires face coverings

Latest order expected to last through end of 2020

by Mark Reaman

Gunnison County on Monday mandated that in another effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, people within the county must wear masks inside local businesses, on public transportation and outdoors where social distancing of at least six feet is difficult.

Knowing the new rule would be controversial, the county explained that while wearing masks won’t stop the spread of the coronavirus on its own, it will help slow down the spread when partnered with other restrictions such as social distancing, hand washing and increased hygiene measures.

Dr. John Tarr, Gunnison County chief medical officer and a member of the county science team, admitted that some experts claim masks are useful in slowing down the spread of the virus while other experts claim masks are useless. “If it helps a little bit, why not?” he said. “They are certainly easy to use with no serious downsides. So I am fully supportive of the new mask requirement. They may not be 100 percent but it helps, then it is useful.”

Gunnison County Public Health director Joni Reynolds went through the Tenth Amended order she signed Monday afternoon during a Zoom meeting with elected officials. She explained that because it is built on a color coded system with five levels of restrictions ranging from Green to Red, there will hopefully not be the need to issue further amended orders. Instead she will adjust the restriction level based on circumstances on the ground at the time.

The county is currently in the relatively open “Blue” category that is the level above Green. The green level can not be declared until there is a vaccine and/or herd immunity that would allow the community to return to normal. Restrictions become more restrictive as the risk levels move from Blue to Yellow to Orange and finally Red.

“The goal right now is to remain in the Blue level,” she said. “It will keep the community safe and while we still will have some cases of the virus, those infected can be treated locally or moved easily if needed.”

The latest public health order can be viewed on the county’s coronavirus website: https://covid19.gunnisoncounty.org/. For more details of the decision and the Monday announcement, look for the next edition of the Crested Butte News.

The full public health order can be found here.

Below is a description of our current hygiene and social distancing requirements under the current “Coronameter” public health status. State regulations have been marked in red.

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