DENVER — Colorado health officials on Wednesday released proposed guidance for ski resorts to operate safely this season amid COVID-19.
The state guidelines focus on wearing masks, staying socially distant when possible and screening of symptoms, all protocols consistent with guidelines for other events and places where people gather.
Ski areas will be asked to work with their local public health agency to develop a COVID-19 safety plan, which will have to be approved by their local agency and the state.
Specific to ski areas, the state released several guidelines, including:
- Promoting the purchase of lift tickets online or over the phone, reducing in-person contact.
- Mask-wearing in all indoor and outdoor spaces, with exceptions for dining and actively skiing or riding.
- Keeping gondola windows open, even in bad weather, and limiting gondolas to 50% capacity
- Requiring six feet of distance between parties in lift lines, including expanding staging areas.
- Limiting ski school groups to 10 people or less, not including instructors.
The state guidelines did not place a capacity limit on the number of people allowed in the general ski area at a given time, though ski areas will be required to manage crowd sizes to ensure social distancing is maintained.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is asking that the public submit feedback on the guidance by 10 a.m. Friday.
Ski areas were ordered to close in March, at the onset of the pandemic, but Gov. Jared Polis allowed ski ares to re-open for a shortened season in June. Some ski areas are planning to operate on a reservation system this season, though most are expected to open around the same time they usually do.