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Response to COVID19 and the impact

With the Governor’s June 2nd Executive Order, Fifth Revision, Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors, and the Fifth Amended State Public Health Order 20-28, restaurants are allowed to resume on-site businesses in a controlled and limited manner. Restaurants and “non-essential” businesses (though if it is your business you would consider it essential), must follow the social distancing of 50% of the indoor occupancy with 6’ separation and the use of licensed outdoor space with social distancing. These restrictions limit the financial viability of the business and most likely prevents full rehiring of the employees that are currently unemployed.

The governor's executive orders and the state public health order are unconstitutional, violation of the First and 14th Amendments, and a government overreach. Businesses should have been be able to make their own decision about staying open taking precautions they see fit based on facts, or closing if they believe it is warranted. Of course they want to protect their customers and employees, that is what keeps them in business!

The COVID-19 financial impacts to Park County are not fully known yet. Due to the closure of businesses in Park County and throughout the State, Sales tax receipts are down. The 3.2-billion-dollar state budget deficit will most likely impact the many grants provided to Park County for specific funding for social services, and other projects/services funded by grants. The loss of tax revenue within Park County will reduce the estimated receipts of the Land and Water Trust Fund, possibly impacting projects under consideration. Additionally, gasoline purchases are down impacting the HUTF - highway users tax finds, which is dispersed to Colorado counties for road maintenance. That impact is for another discussion.

I hope the business and restaurants can survive with this restricted 50% opening. As Commissioner, I would work to find ways to help businesses increase their outdoor seating space (people feel safe outdoors) and allow them to fully operate their indoor space as they see fit.  I believe people are safe outdoors since the sun kills the virus and the wind usually blows a bit. All businesses in Park County are valued by the residents and to the tourists traveling through the county. The great thing about capitalism and free markets is, businesses operate as they see fit and customers decide if they want to exchange the dollars they earn for the product/service being offered. Let people and businesses make their own decisions.

Commentary. Hindsight is 20/20, however my belief in the Constitution, liberty and personal responsibility will drive my decisions. The actions of the Governor, after the state of emergency executive order was proclaimed March 11, were coercive to Colorado Counties. The governor required counties to take specific actions and threatened if they did not to withhold COVID preparedness federal funds sent to Colorado for distribution to counties to cover their costs. So counties spent money and are currently spending money based on mandates, when the facts were not known, and now with the facts known. With a strained budget, Park County has no way to fund the Public Health expenditures except for complying with the governor's mandates hoping for reimbursement and asking for variances (permission) for more relaxed restrictions or claiming the governor's orders unconstitutional and spending from the reserve balance in the general fund. Colorado Governor Polis did not act in the best interest of the diverse counties in Colorado.

Amy Mitchell for Commisioner
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