Glenwood Springs City Council to revisit face coverings and other city public health orders Thursday
City to also discuss whether or not to proceed with a Fourth of July celebration
At a special meeting Thursday, the Glenwood Springs City Council will revisit many of the city’s own COVID-19 restrictions and reevaluate whether or not those public health orders should be lifted or extended.
Since March 23, all non-critical air traffic at the municipal airport has been suspended.
The city’s public transit service, Ride Glenwood, has also been temporarily suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The city has also prohibited lodging facilities from accommodating non-critical guests beginning April 6.
“It’s probably a good time to have a conversation about opening the airport again,” said Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup. “Lodging, I’m not so sure on.”
The city has also required residents and retail workers to wear face coverings for all essential activities outside of their home since April 7.
The face-covering mandate was extended over the weekend until May 1.
“I feel like we were proactive with the face-covering order and I still would support keeping that in place,” Kaup said.
According to Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras, the department has received a few complaints about people not wearing face coverings per the city’s public health order, but had yet to issue any citations.
“When we have that contact with folks they’ve been very compliant and understanding,” Deras said.
According to the face-covering public health order, failure to comply could result in up to a $1,000 fine and 364 days in jail.
However, members of council have made clear that the order’s intent was neither to fine residents nor put them in jail.
Whether or not council will make any changes to those public health orders remains to be seen Thursday evening.
“I am not in favor of lifting anything that we’re doing right now,” said Councilor Rick Voorhees. “I hate government regulations that restrict people but this is a medical emergency.”
Fourth of July celebration
Council will also discuss this year’s Fourth of July celebration Thursday, since staff needs to start planning for the event — if one actually occurs.
“Staff will discuss with city council how social distancing requirements under the safer at home order will impact the proposed celebration,” City Manager Debra Figueroa said.
According to Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson, forecasters were projecting an average fire year, which for Garfield County translates to a relatively high fire risk, particularly during the warmer, dryer summer months.
“The Fourth of July is a pretty risky time,” Tillotson said. “I still think that fireworks, even on a normal Fourth of July, are just not worth the risk in Glenwood Springs.”
For the last two years, the city’s Fourth of July celebration in Two Rivers Park has done away with fireworks and instead entertained guests with a laser light show.
“There is no intent on the part of the city to go back to fireworks at the Fourth of July celebration,” Figueroa said.
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