Keep NOCO Open

The Fort Collins business community is filled with an amazing cross-section of small, medium and large businesses providing products and services that all citizens need and desire. And citizens, alongside business, have a major stake in the ongoing success of our business community. We are inviting every business and citizen to help Keep NOCO Open.

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Unless a sudden spike in local pandemic case numbers can be stemmed or reversed, Larimer County businesses could lose the benefits of a variance granted by the state this spring that allows them much greater flexibility and creates more opportunities for them to reach customers.

Rising COVID-19 case numbers in Colorado spurred Gov. Jared Polis to issue the mask order on Thursday, July 16, joining 24 other governors in enacting statewide face-covering mandates. Here’s the official Q&A document with details and definitions.

“If we continue to see cases rise, and early-warning indicators continue to appear, we could see our variance rescinded,” Larimer County Health Department spokeswoman Katie O’Donnell said on Thursday. “This would mean a roll back to the ‘Safer-At-Home’ phase from a state level, and a minimizing of the allowed business operations we were awarded with our variance.”

The variance, and other exemptions that followed, had led to the reopening of restaurants to dine-in customers, allowed foot traffic in retail stores instead of curbside pickup and permitted a much broader range of other business opportunities. The exemptions had also allowed institutions such as libraries and museums to reopen to the public.

The community at large and businesses must lead the way in preserving the variances. Here are the 7 things everyone should do while in NoCo:

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Physically distance
  4. Know before you go
  5. Be Kind, be patient
  6. Support local
  7. When in doubt, opt out

O’Donnell said the success that Larimer County has had in controlling the pandemic spread, and that led to the crucial business variances, has been threatened by complacency.

“We were being diligent about face coverings and social distancing, but we are starting to get complacent,” O’Donnell said.

“We don’t want that to happen. We need everyone to be taking this seriously. Face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and frequent cleaning are critical in slowing the spread of the virus and keeping our businesses operating with greater flexibility.”


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