PI Editorial: Celebrate our pandemic progress, but with an eye toward caution | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Celebrate our pandemic progress, but with an eye toward caution

Post Independent Editorial Board

How far we’ve come.

This time a year ago, our tourism economy was tepid. While we were seeing some visitors to Glenwood Springs, it was a shadow of what we usually see for our early summer season. That brought financial struggles practically across the board for our local businesses, everything from retail to restaurants to destinations.

Compare that to a typical scene in downtown Glenwood Springs now: live music, bustling shops and throngs of people strolling leisurely as they weigh the tough choice of which one of our great restaurants they should go to for their next meal.

It just feels great to see — and to take it all in. It’s also a stark reminder of just how much effort and tribulation it took for all of us to get to this point. While every Garfield County community had their own twist on how to best navigate the pandemic, the reality is we got here together.

Vaccinations have been key to arriving at this very moment, but we also know more people in Garfield County need to be vaccinated in order to reach the estimated 70-80% vaccination rate necessary for herd immunity. We’re hopeful more will seek the vaccination — after all, there are plenty of incentives on offer these days, including the Colorado Comeback Cash lottery. Otherwise, we’re in danger of seeing more stringent measures come roaring back as case numbers rise.

Yet even as we’re optimistic and excited about the present and future, we’re not out of the woods yet. COVID-19 continues to mutate into more virulent and contagious strains. Locally, we’ve seen a number of cases of delta (the strain that is believed to have originated in India) cases over the past couple of weeks. Garfield County Public health on Wednesday stated that variant strains are practically the sole drivers of recent cases, and again urged people to seek out vaccinations if they haven’t already. That makes it even more important to remain cautious.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to decide what is best for them. At the same time, however, it’s very possible that more businesses will require proof of vaccine if cases continue to rise. Inaction would otherwise just invite more governmental intervention — something we think no one would be in favor of these days.

In Carbondale, the Crystal Theatre announced plans to require proof of vaccine for all patrons as part of its reopening plan. Further upvalley, Belly Up will require at least 80% of concert attendees to be vaccinated, while the other 20% must show a false COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before the event.

Such requirements might be considered a hassle by some, but they’re likely to become even more common if we don’t reach the herd immunity threshold. Maybe it’s just us, but getting a vaccine and getting on with life seems like the easier path.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Amy Connerton and Karl Oelke.

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