CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KDVR) — Residents and business owners held a rally outside the Douglas County Commissioners’ building Tuesday, supporting the effort to re-open. The board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution asking for all state-mandated restrictions be lifted “without delay.”
Matthew Christopher owns Christopher’s Lunch Grill. He opened exactly one year ago.
“It’s been tough. We’ve struggled to find good places to set up our cart. It is much more difficult than I could’ve ever imagined. My brother used to run a similar cart. There were always events you could go to. These days, there aren’t events. It’s all up to us to find stuff and make it work,” he said.
Douglas County Commissioners say Douglas County businesses have lost more than $375 million over the past year.
“We want to get people back to work safely with sound recommendations around public health, but really based upon the numbers, now may be the time to do that.” Commissioner Abe Laydon said, adding, “It’s really time-based upon the numbers and certainly the economic factors to think about how we get back to a place of normalcy for our citizens. There is a dial right now and at this point, but there’s no color for normal. So we’d love to see an actual color on the dial where citizens could point to and say, ‘This is where we need to go.'”
Commissioners said in Douglas County, vaccinations are up, cases and hospitalizations are down.
County officials say as of March 3, more than 57,000 people in Douglas County have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The county’s population is 351,154.
Data from the Tri-County Health Department show cases and hospitalizations are down significantly from a peak in December. However, the hospitalization rate has risen slightly since late February.
Laydon said counties have very little power or authority to make changes to public health orders, so they need to work with the state to develop a timeline to fully open.
“We don’t want the resolution to be misinterpreted. We want people to be thoughtful and make good health decisions for themselves based on personal responsibility based on what we’ve heard this entire year. I think the government is in a bad position to make decisions for you. I think citizens and businesses are bright and understand what it means to keep people safe and keep the economy going,” he said.
Gov. Jared Polis’ spokesperson sent FOX31 this statement:
“Pretty much everything is already open, and the Governor shares the goal of Douglas County Commissioners of keeping things open and that people should be able to pack in more tightly soon. As more Coloradans receive the lifesaving vaccine, especially our seniors 70 and older who represent 78% of COVID deaths in our state and do not yet have full immunity, people will be able to pack in more.
“We will continue the work to devolve more authority to local government as we make data-driven decisions that are best for our state and communities. Colorado has lost more than 6,000 people to COVID-19 and it’s up to each and every one of us to do our part to prevent further spread of the disease and loss of life.”
But business owners like Christopher say the sooner all the restrictions are lifted, the better.
“We’re excited about it. We hope it all happens. We think it will be a chain reaction. If some people start to do it, others will obviously follow and that will benefit us and our business, hopefully,” he said.