Garfield County rescinds emergency COVID-19 declaration

Local News

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has rescinded its emergency declaration regarding COVID-19 precautions in light of the greater number of people being vaccinated, combined with decreasing number of local cases.

On March 16, 2020, Garfield County declared a local disaster emergency related to COVID-19. This declaration allows county governments to respond to any disaster or emergency and to apply for aid from the state and federal governments.

A March 20 standing Garfield County Public Health order related to compliance to state orders, remains in place. This means that Garfield County will follow all public health orders issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and all executive orders issued by the governor of Colorado related to the COVID-19.

“This allows us to move into a period of normalcy here in Garfield County,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “Thank you all to the citizens of Garfield County and to the public health department. Hooray, it’s been a year and three months and we’ve gotten through this part together.”

Garfield County Public Health Director Yvonne Long told the board that the amount of people receiving vaccines is holding steady and an increase of COVID-19 cases isn’t anticipated going into summer.

“We continue to offer vaccines in Garfield County for anybody who wants them, wherever they want to receive them,” she said. “We have six to seven vaccine clinics going on every week. We are also working with the state to bring in the vaccine van for additional pop-up clinics on weekends.”

The governor’s new order lifting the mask mandate in certain situations allows county establishments to operate at 100 percent occupancy without the need of social distancing or staff wearing masks, if staff is fully vaccinated. Businesses can still require masks and social distancing if they prefer.

“We’re in green on the state COVD dial and that’s positive. It is up to individual businesses if they want to require masks or not. Look at the doors on local businesses and if they still want customers to wear masks, then please respect their wishes,” Long said. “If they want masks, respect that. If they do not want to require masks, respect that. For vaccinated individuals, it is a person’s personal responsibility if they feel they need to be wearing a mask. This is a big step and will take some time adjusting.”

She added that many parents are bringing their 12- to 15-year-old kids in for the COVID vaccination. More than 53 percent of county residents have at least one dose of the vaccine, while 44 percent has both doses, Long said. Garfield County does not mandate that anyone of any age receive a vaccine.

“Those who are vaccinated really can go about their day-to-day business,” she said.

Long told the board that the reasons that some adults are not getting the vaccine is a combination of cultural barriers, misinformation, and people who are opposed to vaccinations in general.

“We also have some folks who simply want to wait and see how everything is going,” she added.

The commissioners approved rescinding the emergency declaration unanimously, 3-0. Go to garfield-county.com/public-health/novel-coronavirus for more information on COVID.

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