The town of Bayfield, the Bayfield School District and other Bayfield-area entities announced closures and policy updates in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and La Plata County’s emergency declaration.
Upper Pine Fire District announced a disaster emergency declaration Thursday.
The county had no presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday. Colorado had 277 positive COVID-19 cases and two reported deaths. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also directed the closure of all gyms, casinos, theaters, coffeehouses and bars. All Bayfield schools were to be closed through March 27, but late Wednesday, Polis ordered all schools in the state closed through April 17.
The town and Marshal’s Office closed their offices to the public – both are providing services – and emphasized social distancing. Pine River Library closed indefinitely. Upper Pine Fire conducted personal protective equipment trainings and ordered new disinfecting ultraviolet technology to aid in its response.
“We added a special UV system, commonly used in operating rooms, to the new ambulance due to arrive in June,” wrote Fire Chief Bruce Evans in an email to The Durango Herald. “It kills corona in minutes.”
Once the technology arrives, it will add to other disinfecting measures already in place. It could even disinfect masks – possibly making them reusable, Evans wrote.
Town of BayfieldTown Hall, Marshal’s Office and Pine River Senior Center plan to reopen April 16. Town operations will continue via email and telephone until then.
The Marshal’s Office will re-evaluate its closure on April 15.
“A trigger point to adjust services further or town events will be if La Plata County (or surrounding counties) have a confirmed case of COVID-19,” wrote Bayfield Marshal Joe McIntyre.
At that time, law enforcement would consider handling lower-priority calls for service by phone, when appropriate.
Tuesday’s board meeting was canceled, but board members held a public email meeting on Wednesday to approve bills. The April 7 election will be a drive-thru election process in compliance with state statute. The April 11 Spring Festival is canceled, with proposed October festivities to replace it. Utilities will continue to operate as normal. The town will waive utility penalties and interest for utilities until May 6.
Upper Pine Fire Protection DistrictIn addition to its disinfecting ultraviolet equipment, Upper Pine Fire made preparations for telecommuting and protective gear for crew members, Evans said.
The district is ramping up a video-conferencing system for social distancing during training and communication. It is also making plans for quarantine procedures if that becomes necessary.
The next response, Phase 3, suspends gatherings, travel, multi-station training and medical mutual aid to neighboring communities.
Pine River LibraryThe Pine River Library in Bayfield closed indefinitely Monday to limit public gathering.
Library staff ask people not to return materials while the library is closed. All due dates are extended through the closure. Meetings, programs and reservations are canceled indefinitely.
Bayfield schools and Pueblo Community CollegeThe Bayfield School District was set to be closed through March 27, but Polis’ order will keep schools closed through April 17.
The district is offering a “grab-and-go” lunch service from Bayfield Intermediate School from 11 a.m. to noon each day through the closure.
Pueblo Community College, which has a campus in Bayfield, is on a two-week spring break until March 27, and the school will begin teaching in a remote-learning format on March 30. Staff members are available in person and over the phone to assist students.
Forest Lakes Metropolitan DistrictThe Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, which manages a large subdivision north of Bayfield, plans to continue services as normal during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is also distributing “commonsense” information and processes for social distancing, wrote District Manager Keith Rountree in an email.
Staff has plans about how to provide essential services, like water and wastewater utilities, trash disposal and snow removal in case employees get sick.
Nonessential services, like utility taps and minor facility repairs, might have to be periodically delayed, Rountree wrote. The district will provide updates as necessary.