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How to Make the Best of COVID-19 in Colorado

by Emily Krempholtz

If we went back in time to January 1, 2020—just a few short months ago—and told you that by St. Patrick’s Day, you’d be isolating yourselves in your homes, unable to go to work or out to eat or drink at bars and restaurants, unable to find toilet paper on the shelves at King Soopers or Costco, and unsure what’s coming next, would you have believed us?

I’m not sure I would have.

But here we are. COVID-19 has sunk its claws firmly into huge parts of the world, and Colorado is not exempt. With case numbers—and a death toll—still rising by the day, local city and county governments, as well as state officials, have made some difficult decisions. On Saturday, March 14, Governor Jared Polis made the agonizing decision to close Colorado ski resorts until further notice. Shortly thereafter, public venues like libraries, bars, and restaurants followed suit, and schools have been canceled until further notice. Travel is discouraged, everyone who can is working from home, people are canceling their weddings and events, and professional sports are officially benched for the foreseeable future.

Suddenly, many of us have a lot more time on our hands but don’t quite know how to spend it. Fortunately, not everything is beyond our reach, and with a little creativity, Coloradans will be able to get through this pandemic stronger than ever.

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Get Outside and Keep Moving

It’s shocking how quickly sitting at home in your pajamas and playing video games gets old, isn’t it? Luckily, so long as you’re careful about hygiene and social distancing, you and your household can still get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

  • The National Parks system is still open (though that’s subject to change), and in case you haven’t heard, Colorado is home to four of them. Moreover, the admission fees have been waived for the National Parks as of Wednesday, March 19, though you should know that facilities and visitor centers are likely to be closed.
  • State parks and open spaces are also still open to the public, so head off the cabin fever by going hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, or cross-country skiing out in nature, where social distancing won’t feel so suffocating.
  • Take advantage of your library. The brick and mortar location might be closed indefinitely, but most library systems have a huge digital catalog of ebooks, music, stream video, online courses, and more to help keep you busy.
  • If the closure of your local gym or rec center has got you feeling down, try streaming a workout from a local fitness instructor or a local gym like Denver’s Fitness in the City. There are also entire at-home programs like Daily Burn, as well as companies like CorePower Yoga, which is offering free access to many of their yoga classes online during COVID-19.
  • For those with kids at home who are getting restless, Stretch and Grow of the Rockies is an excellent (and free!) option for taking a break and resetting yourselves with a little exercise, and contains plenty of great tips and stretches for adults and kids alike.

 

Beware of the Backcountry

Look, we know it sucks that you have all this time off work and the slopes are closed. And even though parks, natural spaces, and even ski areas are still open to the public, we’re begging you to exercise some caution before heading out into the backcountry.

  • Backcountry skiing can be fantastic and fun—if you’re experienced, knowledgeable, and vigilant about snow safety—but with our changing weather here in Colorado at this time of year, and fewer professional staff on the mountains to evaluate risks, you might find yourself in a hairy situation now that even the most popular ski areas aren’t being regularly maintained.
  • Avalanches are dangerous at the best of times, and right now, with hospital beds about to become a prime commodity and our healthcare system on the verge of being overwhelmed by coronavirus, any risk of injury in the backcountry becomes even more so. It might be tough to stay off those slopes, but know that by doing so you are being an important part of the #DoingMyPartCO initiative.

 

Ways to Support Local Businesses

Bars and restaurants have been closed, and many small retail businesses have voluntarily closed their doors. It’s a scary time to be a small business owner, and there are a few things you can do to help if you’re able.

  • Many restaurants are still open for takeout or delivery, like Blue Moon Bakery in Silverthorne or FlipSide Burger in Breckenridge, so if you have the funds, support a local Colorado business by ordering food. Companies like Grubhub are trying to do their part by waiving delivery fees for restaurants during coronavirus, so while you will still have to pay a small fee on your end, know that your favorite restaurants won’t.
  • If you’re bummed that you won’t be able to hit up your favorite Colorado brewery for the foreseeable future, call and see if they are open and selling six-packs, crowlers, or growlers from their taproom, or if you’re in the Front Range, use a site like Drizly, which will deliver alcohol straight to your doorstep from local breweries and liquor stores.
  • There are plenty of small businesses offering delivery or curbside pickup, so you can support your favorite local businesses like Tattered Cover Bookstore, which is offering online sales and free shipping on orders over $10, as well as phone orders, curbside pickup, and services like Libro.fm for audiobooks.
  • Now is a great time to make an online purchase, or buy a gift card from your favorite small business or local boutique or retailer to help support them during this difficult time.

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Strong as the Rockies

This is scary stuff. Like it or not, the way we’ve all grown accustomed to living our lives has changed for the foreseeable future. But know that you are not alone. We are all adjusting, and it’s time for us all to be strong, and be there for one another now. As a general rule, don’t act like everyone around you is going to give you the virus, but as though you already have the virus yourself. I know, I know—everyone and their brother has been telling you to wash your hands, but seriously. Wash. Your. Hands. Frequently and well. The best thing we can do is socially distance ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living. We will get through this together. 

For more information on the spread of coronavirus in Colorado, including what to do if you feel sick, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/.