Soft reopening of Gilpin County offices

Colorado Gaming Association preparing guidelines for reopening casinos

By Randy Beaudette

On May 12, 2020 the Gilpin Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a special online meeting to discuss topics such as the proclamation that May is Mental Health Month, requirements for reopening Gilpin County offices, and a discussion that addresses the reopening of the casinos.

After some technical difficulties, Madam Chair Gail Watson opened up the meeting at 9:15 am along with Commissioners Ron Engels and Linda Isenhart. Also online were County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, and Deputy Clerk Sharon Cate. Others from the Senior Leadership Team joined in as needed.

COVID-19 Update

Public Health Coordinator Bonnie Albrecht informed the Commissioners that the Public Health Office (PHO) is busy gathering information and coordinating the Contact Tracing team, and their office is also working with the State on campground guidelines for the upcoming camping season, and finally, PHO is preparing the COVID-19 test site within Gilpin County.  Resident and Timberline Board Chair Chip Smith asked about the three Gilpin County COVID cases that were added over the weekend on the Colorado COVID site and then removed on the Monday afternoon update. Ms. Albrecht replied that Gilpin County has one confirmed case and two suspect cases that tested positive for antibodies, the information was mis-identified by the COVID -19 data collection agency as being confirmed when they were really supposed to be listed as suspect. The data was identified and corrected for the Monday data update.

Emergency Manager Nathan Whittington added that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to work with the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management as far as recovery and looking into the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Grant. Gilpin County was assigned a Disaster Recovery Specialist last week which will consolidate all of Gilpin County with the municipalities into one single contact point. Once the Disaster Recovery Specialist has been assigned, a Disaster Recovery Task Force can be initiated and formed from local residents and government officials.

May is Mental Health Month Proclamation

Gilpin County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May, 2020 as Mental Health Month and call upon all citizens, governmental agencies, and private institutions, businesses, and schools to recommit our communities and resources to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health.

Update on Soft Reopening of Gilpin County Offices

County Manager Abel Montoya led the discussion concerning the soft reopening of Gilpin County Offices. Residents requiring services from the County are encouraged to do so online. If those services that need to done in person, the County requires those services be rendered only by appointment booked at least two days in advance. Appointments can be made online either visiting the specific department webpage or through the central services page. Visitors can book appointments from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and are required to properly wear a face mask while inside public buildings per Public Health Order #20-05.


Legal Status Report

Gilpin County Attorney Bradford Benning informed online viewers that his office is working on legal matters concerning the soft reopening of County buildings, the Safer-at-Home order, and election issues for the upcoming election. A soft reopening of the County Library to utilize their services is also being reviewed for legality and conformity to the Safer-at-Home order.

County Manager’s Report

Gilpin County Manager Abel Montoya and Human Services Director Lora Solomon reported that a request review for the Summer Meal Program through the Food Bank of the Rockies has been approved with distribution starting as soon as May 13th. Initially the request was denied for summer meals due to census data, but with the high unemployment experienced in the County and the scarcity of stores, Ms. Solomon requested a reconsideration in which the Food Bank reversed their decision in favor of Gilpin County.

State Campground Opening

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) opened up reservations to Colorado State Campgrounds throughout the state. Social distancing and sanitation guidelines must be observed and are available by reservation only.

National Forest Campground Opening

Columbine Campground presently has a tentative opening date of June 1st according to Clear Creek Ranger District Ranger Scott Haas. American Land and Leisure, who manages the Columbine Campground, has a plan in place that will ensure adherence to the Governor’s Safer-at Home Order.

Discussion of Reopening Casinos

The Gilpin County Commissioners discussed the reopening of the casinos in Central City and Black Hawk. Commissioner Engels recently attended a meeting with local casino owners and the Colorado Gaming Association (CGA) and provided a debriefing from that meeting. CGA released a number of protocols for internal controls required before casinos will be allowed to open. Under the current Safer-at-Home order, the “Recreate within ten miles of home” along with the “Gathering of no more that ten people” requirements would ensure that any variance waiver request to the Colorado Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) would be denied. Commissioner Engels has initiated a work group that consists of public health officials, casino owners, and governmental officials to review and tighten up the CGA document of internal controls for opening. Rumors have it that there is a possibility the state might open up eating establishments on June 1, 2020 depending on the data submitted to the CDPHE. Commissioner Engels is anticipating that if casinos are included in the same allowance as eating establishments, then Gilpin County will be prepared and equipped to open up the casinos according to the CGA guidelines.

Meeting Minutes

Board of County Commissioners approved the Meeting Minutes from May 5, 2020 with corrections.

Public Comment

Resident Sandy Hollingsworth expressed her gratitude to the Emergency Operations Center for keeping Gilpin County safe and informed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Executive Session

Gilpin County Commissioners moved to recess into Executive Session pursuant to C.R.S. 24-6-402(4)(b) for a conference with the County Attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions regarding the proposed Timberline Fire Protection District Impact Fee.

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