Dolores Becomes COVID Refugee Mecca

08/04/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (269 resident, 33 non-resident), Archuleta (55 resident, 48 non-resident), Montezuma (132), Dolores (3), San Juan (6). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (3), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (2), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 67, 217 cases, 7, 454 hospitalized, 2,033 deaths among cases, 1,935 deaths due to COVID-19, 858, 108 tested, 681 outbreaks, colorado.gov
The Colorado COVID-19 Modeling Group reports that through late August, infection increased while hospitalizations plateaued. If physical distancing remains at 65%, we will see gradual growth in cases and/or hospital demand. covid19.colorado.gov
Governor Polis extended the face-covering order through October 12th. The next phase of re-opening is Protect Our Neighbors.

The tiny town of Dolores just north of Cortez is jumping with activity these days from COVID 19 refugees who bring their RVs to enjoy the great outdoors and who want to enjoy some town events.

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MZ 8/4/20 Dolores SummerTHE TOWN OF DOLORES JUST NORTH OF CORTEZ IS ENJOYING A ROBUST TOURISM SEASON, THANKS, IN PART, TO THE COVID PANDEMIC, AND A FEW CREATIVE COMMUNITY EVENTS. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY NICE ELECTRICAL SERVICES. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. THE TOWN OF DOLORES, LIKE MOST SOUTHWEST COLORADO COMMUNITIES, SAW ITS ECONOMY TANK WITH THE STAY-AT-HOME CLOSURES FROM THE PANDEMIC IN MARCH AND APRIL. BUT ITS LOCATION ON THE DOLORES RIVER AND THE CLOSE ACCESS IT OFFERS TO THE CANYONS OF THE COLORADO PLATEAU AND THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS MAY BE AMONG THE REASONS WHY THE TOWN HAS ENJOYED A ROBUST SUMMER TOURISM SEASON.
THIS SUMMER HAS BEEN GOOD, BUT THIS SPRING WAS VERY RICKETY. SO, YOU KNOW, WE, WE CAME INTO THIS WHOLE PANDEMIC WITH A LOT OF BUSINESSES NOT BEING ABLE TO OPEN, NOBODY ALLOWED TO TRAVEL. AND SO A LOT OF BUSINESSES WERE STRUGGLING. WE WERE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT AS A CHAMBER AND AS A VISITOR CENTER, WHETHER OR NOT WE WERE GOING TO OPEN, HOW WE WERE GOING TO HELP BUSINESSES, HOW WE WERE GOING TO ASSIST THEM WITH GETTING PPP LOANS AND EID LOANS AND ALL OF THAT STUFF. BUT AS SOON AS MAY CAME AROUND, WE NOTICED THAT THE BIKES STARTED SHOWING UP, AND THE BOATS STARTED SHOWING UP, AND THE KAYAKS STARTED SHOWING UP, AND WE'RE LIKE, HMM, THIS IS INTERESTING. OKAY. IT'S NOT LOOKING AS BAD. AND THEN, WE DID AN INTERVIEW WITH THE RV PARKS AROUND HERE, AND GUESS WHAT? THEY WERE FULL. THIS WAS THE BUSIEST MAY THAT MOST OF THEM HAD HAD EVER. AND I'M LIKE, OKAY, OKAY. BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO STAY IN HOTEL ROOMS. THEY WANT TO BRING THEIR RVs WITH THEM. THEY WANT TO BRING THEIR HOUSE ON THEIR BACK, AND THEY WANT TO COME OUT, AND THEY'RE NOT WORKING, A LOT OF THEM. SO THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO WORK WHERE THEY, YOU KNOW, WHERE THEY'RE VACATIONING. AND SO THEY DECIDED TO COME HERE, BECAUSE THIS AREA HAS A LOT OF OUTDOOR REC. AND SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S, IT'S BEEN PERFECT FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE. SO IT'S, THEY'RE STARTING TO BOUNCE BACK. ALTHOUGH DOLORES HAD TO CANCEL ITS SPRING DOLORES RIVER DAYS AND ITS SUMMER ESCALANTE DAYS CELEBRATIONS, ITS FARMERS MARKET ON WEDNESDAYS DRAWS A GOOD CROWD, FROM LOCALS AND VISITORS ALIKE. AND IT'S GETTING CREATIVE WITH SPECIAL EVENTS TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY CONNECTED WHILE COMPLYING WITH SOCIAL-DISTANCING REGULATIONS. IN PLACE OF ESCALANTE DAYS, FOR THE EXAMPLE, THE TOWN WILL HOST A COMMUNITY-WIDE YARD SALE AND SATURDAY FARMERS MARKET ON AUGUST 8. YARD SALES WILL BE HELD AT PRIVATE HOMES THROUGHOUT TOWN AND BUSINESSES WILL HOLD SIDEWALK SALES FOR THE DAY. THE ANNUAL ESCALANTE DAY BICYCLE RACE WILL BE HELD IN BOGGY DRAW AS USUAL, BUT ENTRIES WILL BE LIMITED TO A 150 CYCLISTS, AND RACE STARTS WILL BE STAGGERED. IN THE MEANTIME, IF YOU'D LIKE TO ENJOY A FRIDAY NIGHT ESCAPE, THE DOLORES CHAMBER HOSTS A FREE DRIVE-IN MOVIE NIGHT THROUGH THE SUMMER AT JOE ROWELL PARK. PARKING OPENS AN HOUR BEFORE DARK WITH THE MOVIE STARTING AN HOUR LATER.
WE WANTED TO HAVE SOMETHING THAT BROUGHT PEOPLE INTO TOWN ON A WEEKLY BASIS FOR AN EVENT THAT MAY, THAT WAS SAFE. SO WHAT WE ENDED UP DOING WAS DOING A DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER. SO OVER AT JOE ROWELL PARK, WE HAVE THE MIDDLE PARKING LOT SET ASIDE AND I'VE GOT, I SAID THAT THERE'S ONLY 75 SPACES, BUT IN ACTUALITY, THERE'S A LITTLE OVER A HUNDRED. WE START WHEN IT GETS DARK AND I OPENED THE LOT UP ONE HOUR BEFORE, AND I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO COME INTO TOWN, HIT THE SHOPS, HIT THE RESTAURANTS, GET SOME TAKEOUT FOOD, AND GO AHEAD AND GO TO THE PARK AND ENJOY, YOU KNOW, AND THEN AS, AND YOU CAN WATCH US GET A BIG, HUGE 20'-BY-30' SCREEN UP AND WATCH US PUT UP THE CONCESSION STAND. AND THEN I HAVE A LITTLE PRESENTATION ROLLING UP JUST BEFORE THE ACTUAL MOVIE STARTS.THE AUGUST MOVIE SCHEDULE WILL BE POSTED ON THE CHAMBER'S WEB SITE AT VISIT DOLORES DOT COM. THANKS FOR WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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