Elk Ave mask requirement to get another look after spring break

Mandate in place until at least May

[ by Mark Reaman ]

As the coronavirus pandemic begins to wane, the Crested Butte town council is looking at lifting the mask mandate currently in place on Elk Avenue. A decision is expected to be made at the May 3 council meeting.

“Gunnison County is ticking along pretty well with getting people vaccinated,” town manager Dara MacDonald told the council at the April 5 meeting. “The county is ready to go to its Green level of restrictions once there are 10,000 people vaccinated in the county. The expectation is that would happen in mid to late May.”

She said there is the caveat, of course, that restrictions would remain in place or tighten up if the number of positive coronavirus cases begins to rise substantially or if a COVID variant somehow begins to spread despite people being vaccinated. “Once in the Green level, all of the restrictions go away except for the mask requirement under the current health order. Masks would be required in crowded places where social distancing is not possible,” she said. “Joni (Reynolds) hopes to lift the entire health order by the end of June.”

“We have been listening to Joni for a year and we should continue to do that,” said councilman Chris Haver.
“She is pretty much leaving it up to us,” said mayor Jim Schmidt.

“My vote would be to go with Joni and lift it when we get to the Green level,” said councilwoman Mona Merrill.
“The county is seeing a little increase in cases at the moment so we should stay aware,” said councilwoman Mallika Magner.
“Those seem to be mostly related to travel from spring break,” said MacDonald, noting Western and Gunnison schools have already had their spring vacation.

“Then it is a fair assumption that we will see more once our spring break is over,” said Magner. “With the numbers going up I don’t want to relax the health measures. I would want to keep the mask order in place.”

“Joni’s guidance is that outdoors is the safest place to be,” said MacDonald. “She feels good about people being outdoors and not spreading the virus. That’s why the county is allowing 250 people to gather for outdoor events. With the ski area closed, I wouldn’t expect Elk Avenue to be crowded for a while.”

“Let’s look at it and reevaluate it in May and see how the county is doing,” suggested Schmidt.

“Vaccinations are the pathway out. Encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” advised MacDonald.

“Once we hit Green, a more robust conversation will be needed,” said Merrill.

Council will have that conversation again in early May.

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