The Clear Creek County Board of Health announced on Thursday that as of 12:01 a.m. on April 11, Clear Creek county roads will be closed to non-county residents. The Order was issued to mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19.
The Clear Creek County Board of Health decided to implement measures because of large amounts of non-resident visitors who have been “traveling to, parking on and gathering at, on and around these roads” to access recreation lands. The Board of Health says this creates dangerous traffic conditions and may lead to further spread of the novel coronavirus.
As of right now, this order is more restrictive than orders from the State of Colorado or the Federal government. However, if orders from the state or Federal government become more restrictive, those orders will take precedent over the county’s.
The Clear Creek County Public Health Order states that roadblocks, traffic control devices, signs, and other tactics will be implemented to restrict access to non-residents.
Clear Creek County, CO Closing County Roads to Non-County Residents – Full Order
The full order is copied verbatim below:
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH R-20-02
STANDING PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER
CLOSING COUNTY ROADS TO NON-COUNTY RESIDENTS
APRIL 9, 2020
1. Purpose, Effective Area. This Public Health Order is being issued to limit the health impacts of COVID-19. This Order sets forth requirements to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This Order is effective within the entirety of Clear Creek County, including all towns within the County.
2. Effective Date and Time, Limitations. The Public Health Order will become effective at 12:01 a.m. on April 11, 2020 , unless otherwise specifically provided for herein, and will remain in effect until further notice.
3. Purpose and Area Subject to Order. This Public Health Order No. 20-1 (“Order”) is being issued to limit the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic including without limitation preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Clear Creek County and protecting the health, safety and welfare of Clear Creek County residents, Clear Creek County public safety responders, and the public generally. This Order applies to the entirety of Clear Creek County. A map showing the Clear Creek County roads affected by this order is attached as Appendix 1.
4. Legal Authority. This Order is adopted pursuant to the legal authority set forth C.R.S. § 25-1-506 as well as all other applicable laws, rules, regulations, orders and declarations. Under this authority, the Board has the power and duty to investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable diseases and conditions affecting public health; to establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine; to exercise physical control over the property and over persons of people within the territorial limits of Clear Creek County; to close public places and to prohibit gatherings of people to protect public health; all as the Clear Creek County Board of Health may find necessary for the protection of the public health. Immediate issuance of this Order is deemed reasonable and necessary under the existing circumstances and necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety and welfare of Clear Creek County, its citizens and the general public.
5. Most Restrictive Standards Control. To the extent any State of Colorado and/or Federal orders or laws are more restrictive than what is set forth herein, such orders and laws control. Individuals should be aware that new orders from Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”) have been and continue to be issued on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All members of the public are responsible for following the Governor’s and CDPHE’s orders and local orders including this Order. Additionally, Clear Creek County Board of Health may legally require and implement more restrictive standards, requirements, and orders for Clear Creek County than what the State of Colorado or the Federal government may require. To the extent this Order is more restrictive than orders from the State of Colorado or Federal government, this Order controls.
6. Reasons for Road Closures. Clear Creek County roads form a network providing local residents of Clear Creek County necessary access to their homes and neighborhoods and additional access to United States Forest Service, state and other public lands for recreation and other purposes. Clear Creek County has been experiencing large numbers of non-resident visitors traveling to, parking on, and gathering at, on and around these roads for the apparent purpose of accessing recreation lands. Parking on these roads and surrounding areas is not lawful under Ordinance No. 14 and also creates dangerous traffic and health conditions and represents a danger and nuisance to local residents. The use of ATVs is not lawful on County roads pursuant to CRS §33-14.5-110. Spring thaw has not fully opened roads, especially in the higher altitudes of many recreation areas and parking frequently is limited to parking on the roads.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue do not have the capacity and resources to adequately control, manage, police, and ensure the safety of these non-residents and their impacts on Clear Creek County and its residents, including preventing non-residents from gathering, disregarding social distancing requirements, and violating travel restrictions in violation of Governor Polis’s Executive Order No. D 2020-017 and CDPHE Public Health Order No. 20-24. Nor do Clear Creek County public safety personnel have the capacity to provide services to persons needing assistance on recreation lands, or to do so safely without putting the personnel at risk to the virus.
The number of non-residents parking and gathering on and around these roads and using the adjacent public lands in Clear Creek County also increases the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. This Order is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from non-residents entering or leaving Clear Creek County and ensure the health, safety and welfare of Clear Creek County residents and public safety personnel, and the general public.
The Public & Environmental Health Director and the Clear Creek County Sheriff, who are the responsible officers for public health and public safety responses most affected and who constitute the Unified Command managing this emergency disaster incident, recommend adoption of this order.
7. Road Closures Devices. The use of road blocks, traffic control devices, signs, and other measures shall be taken to restrict access to Clear Creek County roads by non-residents except for Necessary Travel, including travel to/from work for Critical Businesses and to perform Critical Government Functions (as the terms in bold are defined in CDPHE Order 20-24, as it may be amended) but excluding travel for the purpose of recreation, and Clear Creek County’s Sheriff’s Office and Road & Bridge Department shall take such actions as deemed necessary for this purpose. The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office also has the authority and is authorized to require persons seeking access to Clear Creek County roads to provide proof of Clear Creek County residency to Sheriff’s Office or other County personnel regulating access to these roads. A valid Colorado driver’s license that includes a Clear Creek County address is sufficient proof of Clear Creek County residency. The Clear Creek County Board of Health also may require the Sheriff’s Office implement a permit sticker system allowing or requiring Clear Creek County residents obtain a sticker to be placed prominently on their vehicles identifying them as residents.
8. General Information for all Persons. The Board of Health strongly recommends· that everyone within Clear Creek County comply with the Governor’s stay-at-home order and Public Health Order 20-24 by staying at home except for essential travel, and that they confine their recreation to their residential neighborhoods.
Residents of Clear Creek County are strongly encouraged to use recreation lands in a manner that does not expose them to the risk of requiring assistance from public safety personnel, who may not respond to calls for assistance at all or in a timely fashion.
Residents of Clear Creek County who are at heightened risk from COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to stay at home.
These actions are some of the most available and effective tools to help slow the spread of the virus in our community – and, importantly, to reduce the number of potential deaths caused by COVID-19. By slowing the spread, we have a chance to protect our family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk for severe illness. In particular, this includes all adults over age 60 and anyone with an underlying health condition.
These actions will limit the cascading impacts on critical services due to high absenteeism if large numbers of workers become ill. This Order and actions will help first responders and other public safety and health care services continue to provide services for those who need them in the coming weeks and months. Collective action can save lives and is in support of the most vulnerable in our community. The more united we can be in preventing the spread the greater the benefit for the whole community.
9. Penalties. Failure to comply with this Order is subject to the penalties contained in Sections 25-1-516 and 18-1.3-501, Colorado Revised Statutes, including a fine of up to five thousand ($5,000) dollars and imprisonment in the county jail for up to eighteen (18) months.