MONUMENT • Town trustees declared actions taken by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in response to the COVID-19 pandemic unconstitutional during a special meeting Monday night, asking the governor to reclassify every business as an essential business.
“All businesses, places of worship and governmental meetings are essential to the exercise of individuals’ fundamental rights and it is discriminatory for the state to treat some, but not all, establishments with preference by labeling them as essential,” a town resolution passed unanimously by panel states.
Trustees do not support COVID-19 restrictions that would shut down Monument businesses and the town will not follow executive orders limiting attendance at public meetings, according to the resolution.
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“The Board of Trustees understands that, notwithstanding their unconstitutional nature, State authorities will attempt to pressure businesses to comply and may threaten their livelihoods,” part of the resolution reads. “The Town of Monument does not have the ability to preclude State enforcement actions. The Board therefore calls on each business and individual to determine for themselves the level to which they desire to comply, in their best interests, with the Governor’s unconstitutional orders.”
Businesses should evaluate their own establishments and their capacity to safely accept customers, and individuals should use their best judgment when entering any store, according to the resolution.
The Gazette’s requests for comment from Polis and Monument Mayor Don Wilson were not immediately returned Tuesday morning.
Gazette news partner KKTV reported the resolution was passed after what Wilson “described as passionate discussions on business restrictions in a recent Board of Trustees meeting.”
“We do understand the concerns and the health risks associated with COVID and its spreading,” Wilson told KKTV. “Our big concern is businesses not getting treated fairly.”
El Paso County was moved to Level Red on the state’s COVID-19 dial — just one level down from Level Purple, the state’s “Stay at Home” level — on Nov. 27. Level Red restrictions closed indoor dining and restricted gyms to 10% capacity, or 10 people indoors per room or outdoors in groups of fewer than 10.
After spending five weeks in Level Red on the state’s COVID-19 dial and showing a sustained decline in cases of the novel coronavirus, El Paso County moved down to Level Orange on Jan. 4, easing restrictions across the county.
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Under Level Orange guidelines, restaurants can operate at 25% capacity with a maximum capacity of 50. Gym capacity also increased to 25% or 50 people indoors.
COVID-19 cases across El Paso County have been declining since Dec. 3 and are down to about 514 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks from 1,343 cases per 100,000 people at the peak, data from the El Paso County Department of Public Health show. The rate of cases in the county is still well above the threshold for Level Red on the state’s dial, which is 350 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks.
On Tuesday the county’s positivity rate — or the number of positive tests over a 14-day period — was 8.92%, within the threshold for Level Orange but greater than the 5% threshold recommended by the World Health Organization.
Since Dec. 10 hospitalizations have also been decreasing, with 126 total COVID-19 related hospitalizations as of Tuesday. Of those, 118 were confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight were under investigation.
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