Custer County lifts all COVID-19 restrictions, community has mixed emotions

Custer County has seen cases decline consistently since January, but their daily new cases are still in the 1,000+
Posted at 5:39 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 19:50:48-05

CUSTER COUNTY — Residents in Custer County have conflicting views about the Board of Health's latest decision to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, effective immediately.

Businesses, like Chappy's Bar and Grill, were given the news on the evening of March 3rd.

“We’re definitely excited to get back to full swing," said Samantha Sloan, a bartender and waitress at the restaurant. However, Chappy's needs to up their staff and put their tables back to normal before they can open their doors at 100% capacity. Sloan says she thinks Chappy's clientel will be "excited to not have to wear a mask".

Yet, just 20 minutes down the road, Kendra Miller co-owns Alpine Lodge alongside her family. Even with restrictions lifted, Alpine will continue operating and 50% capacity and requesting that their customers wear masks.

“It does feel sort of like going against the grain of the community, and that’s one of our main concerns is that there will be people who won’t want to come to Alpine because we do still ask for masks.”

In a press release the county stated:

"The Board’s decision complies with State guidance and Governor Polis’ Executive Order from 23 February 2021, which grants counties the ability to determine the appropriate time to move “back to normal”. Consulting with Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDPHE) and considering local COVID-19 conditions were instrumental in reaching this decision."

Westcliffe is predominantly busier in the springtime, as many tourists visit Custer County, especially from Texas who just also lifted all COVID-19 restrictions.

“One of our main concerns is that spring break is coming up, tourist season is coming up, and once we open up fully, we’re worried if our numbers are going to jump up from COVID or not," said Miller.

Breaking News: All COVID restrictions removed in Custer County. The Custer County Board of Health has voted two to one...

Posted by Wet Mountain Tribune on Wednesday, March 3, 2021

As the comment in this Facebook post show, Sloan says people's opinions around COVID-19 in Custer County are "about half and half".

The Custer County Board of Health is expected to meet again on March 10th to "monitor data and further develop guidelines and recommendations to keep Custer County on course in reestablishing normalcy," according to their statement.