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Trauger column: It is time

Kathryn Trauger
Guest column

What have we given up? We have given up far too much. It is time to draw the line. It is time to take back control of our lives and our businesses. 

I understand if you, as an individual, prefer to “stay safer at home.” That is your right. I am considered to be in an “at risk” population and I am comfortable moving on. 

But I ask you, what kind of a society allows the government to prevent a business and the people employed by that business from providing for their families? This has gone on for far too long and it is time for the people to say enough. The economy, along with people’s lives cannot be devastated because of a threat that has been more of a media and political event than an actual threat to the general population. Come on people. Do some research that does not involve the initials NBC, CBS, NPR or even FOX. Look at the facts. The facts do not substantiate the lockdown that we have faced. The cure is far worse than the illness. 

Here are some facts from Johns Hopkins University. 

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In Colorado, the population is 5,759,000. The total cases have been 20,103. Deaths were at 1,009. This means that your chances of surviving COVID 19 are 99.982%. Here are the Colorado CDC statistics from May 18; Total cases are now 22,202. 921 people have died due to COVID 19. Your chances of surviving COVID 19 are now 99.984%. The interesting fact here is that the number of people who were reported to have died has been revised –downward — by as many as 300. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is now differentiating between deaths “due to” COVID-19 and deaths “among” those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

For comparison, consider some statistics from Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) In 2019 Colorado had 595 traffic fatalities. In our CDOT Region, which encompasses some of the COVID’s hardest hit, non-metropolitan areas, Pitkin, Eagle, Gunnison, Summit, and Route Counties, we have had 37 deaths from COVID 19. Yet, in 2019, in our CDOT region we had 68 traffic fatalities. Yet we have shut down the entire state – no, the entire country for this.

I am not minimizing those that have suffered or lost loved ones. My heart goes out to you. But the fear factor has taken over logic and facts.

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin requested, in two letters, an executive order from Governor Polis to allow for local control to begin opening our businesses. In response, the Governor sent a form letter. The Commissioners have since filed a formal request. In the meantime, Garfield County Department of Public Health filed a cease and desist order against Shooter’s Restaurant in Rifle for opening at a 30% reduced capacity. I realize our County Commissioners are in a very tough spot, but it is important that our Commissioners represent the people and businesses in our county. Was that action necessary?

It is time.

John Martin, Tom Jankovski and Mike Samson, please know that there are people who are ready to back you if you are ready to defend the people of Garfield County. We can no longer roll over and bow to a timeline set by Gov. Polis. The people need and want to work. Do not deny them that basic right. Additionally, our tourism industry, the lifeblood of Glenwood Springs, this region and this state depend on re-opening soon.

It is time to take the politics out of this issue. This is a human issue. People need to feed their families. Businesses need to open. And if the government is going to do its job, we need those workers and businesses to do their job. 

If you think the government will provide for you indefinitely – think again. Without business there are no tax revenues and local government folds. It is a death spiral. By keeping businesses shuttered you are beginning a cycle of homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide, depression and economic ruin – from which will take decades to recover.

It is time to minimize the losses and get people back to work. If you don’t agree, that isn’t a problem. Simply stay “safer at home.” But if you do agree, please join me in telling our Garfield County Commissioners to support us, our businesses, our economy and our total well-being. Stand up to Governor Polis and put our people to work. We, the people, will support you.

Kathryn Trauger lives in and writes from her hometown of Glenwood Springs. She has served the community as a member of Glenwood Springs City Council and chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and she currently serves as the chair of the city’s Financial Advisory Board. Her column, Perspective, appears occasionally in the Post Independent.


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