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Open Space - News

Posted on: March 19, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Information and Updates

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There is an expanding global outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, named COVID-19. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is preparing for and aggressively managing this outbreak in collaboration with other national, state, and local partners. Our number one priority is protecting the health and safety of our community. 

UPDATE: Jeffco Public Health has issued a public health order extending the state’s Stay-at-Home order in Jefferson County through May 8, 2020, with a key revision to support non-critical businesses. This will help protect our community from COVID-19. More information about the Stay-at-Home extension for Jefferson County.

Beginning May 9 a new Safer-at-Home phase will be implemented across the state, replacing the statewide Stay-At-Home Order effective March 26 at 8:00 a.m. until May 8More information about this public health order.

Due to COVID-19 health concerns, JCOS Headquarters, Lookout Mountain Nature Center, and Hiwan Museum facilities will be closed until further notice. All scheduled education classes, programs, and public meetings are also canceled for the safety of our employees, volunteers, and community.

We understand the need to get outside during these times of quarantine and social distancing, and therefore the parks, trails, and outdoor restroom facilities will remain open for public use. However, with increased numbers of individuals out at the parks, we ask that you please keep the community safe by following the same guidelines as other public spaces:

  • DO NOT visit parks and public areas if sick; stay home, seek medical care
  • DO NOT gather in groups larger than 4
  • Practice social distancing of at least 6’ in parks, trailheads, trails, and climbing crags
  • Keep dogs on leash at ALL times
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer and/or hand washing supplies; many of our parks and restrooms lack running water. Sanitize/wash hands after touching public surfaces such as railings, benches, and handles
  • Wear a bandana or face mask; cover your nose and mouth at the trailhead or when passing others on the trail
  • High-risk visitors, use discretion for park visits and public restroom use

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FAQs

Why are the public restrooms in our parks still open?

If we close restrooms and leave parks and trails open, our visitors will be forced to turn our parks into a restroom. We’ve posted COVID-19 notice signs on the restroom doors reminding visitors of health precautions. The Park Services and Ranger teams are doing our best to keep our restrooms clean with very high visitation.

Why don’t you close trailhead parking lots?

While this approach may be working for some urban parks, the Jeffco Sheriff and Transportation and Engineering do not support this so it will like force more cars to park along roadways causing safety and enforcement challenges. Local law enforcement does not have the bandwidth to sign and enforce no parking zones outside of our lots. If lots are closed and parks are open, visitors will park legally along roads and in neighborhoods adjacent to parks and trailheads. This will create more congestion, traffic hazards, and safety concerns.

Why don’t you close parks?

Jeffco Open Space has 27 parks with over 240 access points. Currently, park hours span about 14 hours a day, seven days a week. Only four of our 240 access points have automated closure gates. Only six of the remaining 230+ access points have manual closure gates. Additionally, we are all aware that a gate or sign is never enough to keep visitors out. If everyone in Open Space staffed an access closure for a standard work week of 40 hours, we’d be short staffed for a full closure by about 1,800 hours per day.

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If any public safety concerns are witnessed at any Jeffco Open Space parks please report this activity to Reporting Stay-At-Home Violations. For non-emergency, non-medical questions for law enforcement related to the Stay-at-Home Order, DO NOT call 911 or dispatch centers. Community members can call the Colorado State Patrol’s new info call center at 1-833-598-5553, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week, or for any park regulation violations please call Jeffco Sheriff’s Non-emergency number at 303-980-7300

Jeffco has compiled a list of resources available to support our community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please share these critical services, FAQs, and resources with your friends and loved ones, and check back often as this page will be updated when new resources are available https://www.jeffco.us/3999/Coronavirus-Disease-2019-COVID-19  

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