Fall, COVID and Mandates
It’s officially fall and leaves and temperatures are dropping everyday. Unfortunately, our COVID numbers aren’t following this wonderful fall pattern. Kevin Unger, President/CEO of UCHealth North Region, noted on Thursday at our Health Care in Your Future Summit that UCHealth is currently caring for 311 COVID-19 cases with 101 of those patients being in the ICU. This contributes to the 112% ICU utilization that we are facing as a community.
As hospitalization numbers have continued to rise, the Public Health Director for the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment issued a Public Health Order requiring face coverings to be worn in Public Indoor Spaces within Larimer County. We know that business has ended up carrying much of the burden of this mandate and we appreciate that our business community is doing everything it can to survive in this climate.
The Chamber has been, and continues to be, your advocate and champion during these challenging times. We have been steadfast in our opposition to moratoriums and mandates on business—in fact, that position is a key tenant of our Where We Stand document that we’ve had in place since 2003. While we have shared this perspective with appointed and elected officials, the position of CEO didn’t come with a magic wand that can stop the implementation of these concerning policy decisions. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped working for you, our members.
Immediately following the release of the Public Health Order, we made contact with County Commissioners and key Public Health leaders to express concerns about the mandate and the lack of information and support for business. Fortunately, these community leaders were willing to listen to our insights and acknowledged that there was opportunity for improved communication, resources and tools. Working with partners across the county, the Chamber was able to host a conversation with former Level Up Businesses and Larimer County Public Health and re-started a communications campaign to share the message of #KeepNoCoOpen.
As well, we shared with decision makers concerns expressed by business about the Vaccine Verified program. That program has now been “paused” with a full commitment by County leaders to engage business in the review of any such program moving forward. We will continue to advocate for resources being provided to business in order to manage this challenging mandate and will continue to raise our voice in opposition to government overreach with business.
Your voice as business owners and advocates is important in this conversation. I would love to hear from you, our members. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your thoughts, ideas and solutions – you can reach me at [email protected]. As well, we have launched an online tool at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NG8F5YP to gather your feedback and to gain a greater understanding of the impact of these actions on your business. We need your voice and look forward to hearing from you.