Community Reviews Re-Opening Issues
Rico citizens offer comments at Town Trustee's online "work session"
May 20, 2020
6:00 - 7:00 PM
More than twenty Rico citizens logged-in to the Rico Board of Trustees work session videoconference May 20. Town Manager Kari Distefano opened the session with a chart comparing Dolores, Montezuma and San Miguel counties public activities restrictions during the coronavirus lockdown, and State of Colorado mandates. In addition to public building and business closures, and events cancellations, Town of Telluride requires face masks to be worn in public places.
The U.S. Forest Service contacted Town of Rico earlier in the day to report that Cayton Campground will be open Memorial Day weekend.
Rico restrictions modifications proposed
Trustee Brandy Randall opened a discussion of possible changes to restrictions on public activities and businesses in Rico by proposing to follow the latest State of Colorado guidelines, with an option to include any variance granted to Dolores County by the State. All other Trustees present at the work session agreed.
Dolores County has requested a variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to allow 50% restaurant occupancy, and to allow high school commencement for the 12 graduates, stated Dolores County Public Health Director Mary Randolph. She added that the Colorado Governor is expected to annouce restaurant rules the week of May 25.
Restaurants may expand seating area to include sidewalks and a portion of the adjacent street, stated Rico Town Attorney Carol Viner. This added space for social distancing will allow a restaurant to host more customers. Attorney Viner has prepared a permit application for this purpose, which restaurant operators may submit to their local government.
Rico Library's Susan Roberston asked about re-opening the library and removing the "Employees Only" sign on the Courthouse/Town Hall door where the library is located. Rico Library has provided curbside pickup of checked-out books and media during the closure period, reported Susan, proposing that re-opening be allowed and library occupancy be limited to three patrons.
Mary Randolph offered to inquire with CDPHE about public library re-opening requirements. Dolores County Commissioner Floyd Cook advised that the State is not ready to open libraries, according to information he received recently.
The Mineshaft Inn plans to re-open in early June, stated Jorden O'Hara. Rico Trustees discussed the Inn's status under the State's requirements: hotel or bed-and-breakfast, and essential vs. non-essential travel. Mary Randolph will research the impact of CDPHE lodging requirements as applied to the Mineshaft Inn.
Vacation homes and short-term rentals
Guidelines or protocols for short-term rentals are needed, suggested Gretchen Treadwell. Some Rico homeowners rent their homes to summer vacationers.
Carol Viner and Dolores County Emergency Manager Keith Keesling commented about VRBO (vacation rental by owner) restrictions, and advised that more research is needed before a recommendation for Rico can be made because CDPHE prohibits short-term VRBOs at this time.
Update - Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment granted Dolores County the requested waiver described above on May 23, 2020. Photo-image below copied from Dolores County Public Health Department Facebook page.