Despite the rising COVID-19 cases and the tighter restrictions, Colorado ski areas will remain open. The Colorado State Joint Information Center sent out an email that clarified this point on Wednesday evening. Fifteen different counties in Colorado have entered Level Red on the COVID-19. Restrictions for this new level will go into place on Friday.
According to Governor Jared Polis, the new Level Red restrictions will not affect these major Colorado ski areas. Despite these spiking cases, the plan “does not affect ski resort on-mountain operations specifically,” Polis clarified in his Tuesday announcement. Under these rules, restaurants must close their indoor dining spaces and offer alternative options like outdoor seating, grab-and-go, and carryout. However, ski resorts “may still operate their lifts according to their approved plan.”
However, the statement clarified that facilities “essential for health and safety like restrooms” may remain open. The statement also clarified that patrons may enter buildings and facilities “to warm or shelter from inclement weather,” but not for dining or recreational purposes.
Major Colorado Ski Areas Unaffected by Restrictions
Summit County is home to Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge, all of which have been open for business for weeks. Copper Mountain, another popular Summit County ski resort will open in two weeks. This county is another extremely popular Colorado skiing destination that will not shut down due to the pandemic.
However, many other areas of business in Colorado apart from skiing have suffered astronomical losses. For instance, small boutique gyms and studios will have to drop from 25% capacity to 10% capacity with these new restrictions. Many gym owners have noted that they will have to close their doors with that drop.
“It is frustrating to feel like gyms and small boutique fitness studios seem to be a second thought during a lot of these press conferences,” said Kristen Baylis, owner of a small studio in Lakewood. “Going to 10% will be extremely difficult for us. We have operated at a loss every month since we re-opened in June. In October, we lost $8,000 due to 25% capacity, and that was with wait-listed full classes.”
Given the power of the Vail Corporation that owns a lot of Colorado’s ski areas, many smaller businesses suffer from these restrictions while ski resorts continue to thrive. Much of the state’s economy does rely on ski tourism, however, smaller local businesses will not reap these benefits. While the ski areas in Colorado can keep operating, the smaller businesses cannot open their doors to the skiers and will suffer the consequences.