COVID-19 testing in Woodland Park (copy)

Debbie Kelley/The Gazette

COVID-19 testing is being offered to the public in Woodland Park as part of a request for a variance from Teller County commissioners to reopen the county.

Two weeks after submitting a variance request to Gov. Jared Polis’ safer-at-home guidelines, Teller County was approved Friday to reopen certain businesses with stipulations, a letter from the state health department said.

Teller County commissioners asked to reopen casinos in Cripple Creek as well as restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and places of worship countywide. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved the request, but under a list of conditions.

Restaurants, places of worship, gyms and movie theaters are all allowed to open, the letter said, but bars and casinos will remain closed.

Under the stipulations, any planned large public gathering must be approved by the Teller County Board of Health for approval. The plan must still include social distancing measures and require face coverings, the state said. Festivals, concerts and fairs are still banned until further guidance, the letter said.

In any confined, indoor space, six feet of social distancing must be maintained and only 50% capacity is allowed.

Employees are still required to wear face coverings and will be monitored daily for symptoms.

Among the rules for restaurants, customers must wear face coverings when seated at tables, and will be asked about COVID-19 symptoms before entering. Groups are limited to six people, and social distancing measures inside the venue must still be enforced. No buffets are allowed, and customers are encouraged to make reservations ahead of time, it said.

Gyms will be required to do symptom screening and implement social distancing measures inside. Frequent cleanings are required, no group classes are allowed, locker rooms will stay closed and employees must wear face coverings, the letter stated.

Places of worship and movie theaters must also adhere to the social distancing measures, frequent cleanings, symptom screenings and limited capacity rules.

If the county’s threshold of 15 additional cases in one week occurs, the variance will automatically be rescinded, the state said. As of Friday, Teller County has had 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 14 additional epidemiologically-linked cases. Two people in the county have died of the disease, state data shows.

Contact the writer: 476-1623

Contact Liz Henderson, 719-476-1623

Twitter: @GazetteLiz

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist who joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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