Photo Credit: Jonathan Ross (iStock).  Jonathan Ross

One of the most popular ski counties in Colorado continues to struggle amid a high COVID-19 presence, with Pitkin County officials now considering more extreme measures, including a shutdown similar to last spring’s.

Pitkin County will move into Level Red COVID-19 restrictions beginning Sunday following an unanimous vote by the County’s Board of Health on Monday.

This comes as recent data shows Pitkin County has the highest incidence rate in Colorado with 3,046 cases on Friday. That means approximately 1 in 35 residents in Pitkin County are currently infected with COVID-19.

Under the new restrictions, indoor dining in restaurants and ski areas is prohibited and lodging in Aspen and Snowmass Village is limited to 50% capacity.

Restrictions also include an 8 p.m. last call, single household limits for outdoor dining and lodging (regardless of reservation) and improved mask and distancing enforcement. Ski mountains will remain open without a reservation system.

Parting from state regulations, the new public health order allows Pitkin County to go back to Level Orange restrictions once the incidence rate drops below 700 and has been decreasing for 14 days.

Health officials said a 700 incidence rate is the maximum amount the county’s contact tracers and disease investigators are able to handle.

The Board of Health opted to heighten restrictions because the incidence rate surpassed 700 for 14 days straight. The county would have also went to Level Red if positivity rates hit the threshold for 14 days or if hospitalizations did for one day.

Pitkin County is the first county in the state to move to Level Red restrictions since Gov. Jared Polis recommended that all red-level counties move to Level Orange on Jan. 4 because of declining incidence rates.

The County will begin the application process for the state’s 5 Star Certification Program to allow certified restaurants to reopen for indoor dining by following increased COVID-19 protocols.

However, the program cannot begun until the County’s incidence rate is below 700, positivity rate is below 10% and less than 90% of hospital beds are in use.

Pitkin County will host a community meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the restriction changes. More information is available at

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