by Bill Knowles
TRINIDAD — During a Las Animas County commission work session last Friday the commissioners heard from Kim Gonzales, Director of the Las Animas and Huerfano Counties Public Health Department speak about the release of a public health order.
The public order was then followed with the release of an amendment Monday further defining PHO 20-24. The original order implements requirements for stay at home and the exemptions for critical business. The amended version further refines the requirements and exemptions and offers a template of a letter business operators can give their employees if they are stopped by authorities.
Those requirements and exemptions include: houses of worship and faith based organizations cancelling or postponing all gatherings and events in Las Animas and/or Huerfano County until April 30, 2020. Pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end-of-life services will be allowed. Services can be conducted remotely through Facebook, GoToMeeting, Zoom or other technology platform.
• Residents of Las Animas and Huerfano Counties who travel or who have traveled in the last five days outside their county of residence to a COVID-19 hot spot in Colorado, such as Colorado Springs, Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties or other location where the virus is rapidly spreading will be under an automatic 14 day self-quarantine.
• Marijuana dispensaries in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties are strongly encouraged to follow Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ Executive Order D 2020 (11), ordering the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes due to the presence of COVID-19. An emergency rule adoption is also instituted – Colorado Marijuana Rules Response to COVID -19 CCR 212-3 – to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Marijuana dispensaries should have a hand sanitizer or a hand washing station available outside the entrance for patrons at the time of pick up during hours of operation.
• Residents can contact the Las Animas Huerfano County District Health Department at if they need a full list of Colorado hot spots. In Las Animas County call 719-846-2213. In Huerfano County call 719-738-2650.
• A notice is required to be posted at the Perry Stokes Airport in Las Animas County and at the Walsenburg – Spanish Peaks Airfield in Huerfano County informing all parties that fly into the airports of the following: 1. Immediately upon arrival all Las Animas and Huerfano County residents shall comply with an automatic 14 day self-quarantine. 2. If you are not a resident of Las Animas or Huerfano County you must immediately return to your current residence.
• Enforcement: This order shall be enforced by all appropriate legal means. Local authorities are encouraged to determine the best course of action to encourage maximum compliance. Failure to comply with this order could result in penalties including a fine of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars and imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, pursuant to C.R.S. § 25-1-114.
Template for Critical Business letter
As local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, the state of Colorado is offering a document to help identify businesses and employees who support critical infrastructure sectors and the critical flow and transportation of goods and services.
Also, these identified sectors and the employees within these sectors, are examples of critical functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response.
The document comes with this disclaimer:
It is important to note, this document is voluntary and not a requirement of any state order and merely created to assist both critical businesses and law enforcement to comply with public health orders. Therefore, the lack of this document does not imply non-compliance with any state order. At the same time, because it is a self-certification, the mere presence of the document does not imply compliance either. The letter in no way intends to provide relief for moving violations or safety violations while operating transportation related to the operation of critical business self-certification. Critical businesses and critical government functions, are exempted from PHO 20-24. All critical businesses are encouraged to remain open.
Critical businesses must comply with social distancing requirements.