DENVER – Colorado officials are reminding people not to go to the mountains if they live along the Front Range and to keep their recreation within 10 miles of home as much of the state enters the safer at home phase and the weather begins to warm.
Gov. Jared Polis said Friday afternoon that mountain communities, which were among the hardest-hit early on in Colorado’s COVID-19 outbreak, were still working to recover and needed more time before people from other parts of the state can come back.
Polis said that mostly had to do with the influx of visitors in towns, at stores and gas stations along the way which could become crowded and lead to the spread of the infection in those areas once again. He signed an executive order Thursday night extending the closure of the state's ski areas until May 23.
The safer at home order says that people should not travel beyond 10 miles from their home to exercise or go outside.
Officials from the Colorado Department of Transportation and Department of Natura Resources said Friday that digital billboards on highways across the state will continue to remind drivers about the restrictions and reiterated Polis’ message.
“Colorado has made great progress in reducing the threat of COVID-19 but we all must continue to do our part,” said DNR Executive Director Dan Gibbs. “Our favorite trail or mountain crag will be there for us when this pandemic is over. For the next few weeks, Coloradans need to stay close to home and look for recreation opportunities within 10 miles of where they live. Taking a brisk walk, bike ride or run to a different part of your community are all good activities to do in lieu of heading to our mountains or other further destinations.”
State parks remain open but campgrounds there and on National Forests remain closed. Officials might consider reopening some campgrounds in coming weeks, Polis said Friday.
The DNR and CDOT officials said people should also avoided any busy trailheads and not park when parking lots are full.
If you are exercising or hiking outdoors, keep at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and others and wear a mask when you are around others, state officials said.
And for those living in most metro-area communities, the stay-at-home orders are still in effect, so people are supposed to avoid traveling unless it’s absolutely necessary.
CDOT said that drivers should obey the speed limit and not drive impaired in order to keep people from crashing and keep strained emergency responders from having to attend to another scene.
Temperatures were in the 80s Thursday and Friday along most of the Front Range and are expected to remain warm despite some rain in the forecast.
“With the good weather, it may be enticing to head to the mountains this weekend,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “However, we have a responsibility to protect our state and our community by staying close to home during this pandemic. Please follow the public health order and recreate within 10 miles of home. It’s up to us all to keep each other safe.”