A number of Colorado counties are taking drastic steps to help stem the spread of the coronavirus telling visitors and non-residents to please stay home.

Chaffee County, which is home to Salida and Buena Vista, is leading the way and is officially "closed to visitors, tourism, or leisure" until further notice. The county is asking its residents to not invite friends from out of the county or out of state. Chaffee Public Health said in a statement, "We all look forward to a time when we are open and back to normal, but that can only happen if everyone does their part to slow the spread of COVID-19." 

Meanwhile, San Juan County, which includes the town of Silverton is also closing its borders. The San Juan County Sheriff's Office is implementing a "locals only" policy prohibiting everything except essential services, Highway 550 drive through traffic, and county residents only. The restriction applies to backcountry skiers and snowmobilers as well, as the restriction extends to all San Juan County lands.

Gunnison County and the town of Gunnison are also asking visitors and second homeowners to stay away. On its Facebook page, the town's message is "We can't wait to see you again. Just please. Not until we begin to reverse the aggressive trend of this global pandemic in our neck of the woods." The Gunnison County Department of Public Health and Human Services has posted a message telling visitors to "leave Gunnison County and return to your primary place of residence as quickly and safely as possible."

This is only the tip of the iceberg as other Colorado counties are likely to be implementing similar policies in efforts to contain and minimize the spread of COVID-19. The measures may seem extreme at first glance, but they demonstrate a commitment by these entities to help get life back to normal as soon as possible, which is what all of us want. The best way for us to get our lives back is for each individual to act responsibly by adhering to all of the orders, guidelines, restrictions, and mandates set down by local governments and public health officials. We need everyone's complete cooperation, whether you agree with the methods and policies or not.

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Colorado’s COVID-19 Hotline

CO-HELP is Colorado’s call line for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.

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