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Clear Creek County will shut down all county roads to non-residents to curb outdoor activity

2 hikers found in Idaho Springs Reservoir area
Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 09:05:33-04

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Clear Creek County commissioners on Thursday voted to close all county roads to non-residents, beginning 12:01 a.m. Saturday, as officials hope to reduce activity in the county during the coronavirus outbreak.

Commissioners Randy Wheelock and George Marlin voted in favor of the move, while Commissioner Sean Wood opposed it. The order from commissioners Thursday will only apply to county roads, not U.S. 6 and Interstate 70 and city streets.

Wheelock said the county has seen summer levels of activity on trails and in parking lots in the county, despite the statewide stay-at-home order. Through Wednesday, Clear Creek County had seven confirmed cases of COVID-19, though officials on Thursday warned that county's healthcare system could not handle a spike in cases. The nearest hospital is in Jefferson County, and Clear Creek only has three ambulances.

Sheriff Rick Albers said his office has recently responded to an overdosed snowmobiler on Loveland Pass and a bonfire party on the last full moon, proof, according to Albers, that people from the Front Range area aren't following the stay-at-home order.

"They're coming up into our backyard, playing in our backyard," Albers said.

Albers said the county ordered 24 signs that will say, "all county roads closed, local traffic only" and the signs would be installed either Friday or Saturday. Deputies monitor traffic and give warnings over the first week, before possibly stepping up to enforcement, if needed.

James Kovaly, the county trails coordinator, said most hikers are maintaining proper social distancing on trails. The problem, Kovaly said, has been in the parking lots, which are packed with people and vehicles. If that trend continues, the county could shut the trails down.