Hmm...A COVID-19 Affidavit System In Pitkin County, CO? -- Ski Rex Says...

It seems that those looking to head to Pitkin County, Colorado for their winter fun now have another box to add to their COVID-19 travel checklist. It now seems that the county will require an affidavit, signed with proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, to stay within county limits. If one doesn't, can't, or won't sign the document, they'll be held to a 14-day quarantine period.

This story comes from an article in the Aspen Daily News. The full article goes on to describe how the county decided to take this action, those affected by this action, and what it could mean for the county and the ski mountains there, most notably the Aspen Ski Co. mountains. That full article is linked below.

Visitor affidavit to go in effect Dec. 14

Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock told elected officials Tuesday night that soon, anyone visiting the county will have to sign a legal affidavit in accordance with local public health orders. The announcement came during a slew of COVID-19 updates in a joint session between the Pitkin County Commissioners and Aspen City Council.

The short version of the story is that anyone arriving to stay one night or more in Pitkin County will have to sign an affidavit that says they have had a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours of arrival or to quarantine for two weeks.

Is this a good idea or not? As with many things that are going on in the era of COVID-19, it's just too early to tell. The affidavit system goes into effect on December 14th. With it just starting it'll be weeks, or maybe even the entire season before officials, locals, and visitors will know if it did anything to help with the spread of COVID-19.

Will it have an effect on tourism during the winter? It will absolutely have an effect on visitor numbers for the season, which some would say is a good thing. In times like these, why wouldn't the county want to limit the number of people that enter? It's a good question, but that's not the intention of those that pushed the affidavit system into being. Some believe that this might help people decide to head to Pitkin County for the winter. In fact, County Commissioner Greg Poschman said, “If we are assuring visitors and locals and workers in our community alike that we are doing everything we can to assure safety and health by advocating for this testing and demanding it from people, I think it's going to give people a better sense of security when they come here — and that might actually be something that allows us to save the winter.”

If that will hold true, again, will have to be determined by history, though it's highly unlikely. Right now there is a lot of pushback when it comes to COVID-19 guidelines. There are many folks that have taken issue with just wearing a mask. It's likely that people will take a similar issue with now having to sign documentation and/or even get tested when they might not have to otherwise. 

It's actually going to be very similar to those who have chosen to not travel to Vermont during the 2020/2021 skiing and snowboarding season. Several people have publicly said they are not or cannot put in the time to quarantine to enter the state of Vermont, which has some very strict travel guidelines in place. In fact, some of those that have made it known that they are not visiting Vermont this year due to the travel restrictions were not necessarily nice about it, either. People have really strong thoughts and feelings when it comes to how COVID-19 is being handled.

In the end, it will likely affect tourism for the season in a negative way.

The question then becomes, will the mountains and other local businesses be able to survive? Again, as much as people do not want to hear it or admit it, only time will tell, no matter their opinion.

In any case, it really is another checkbox for those looking to visit Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, or Buttermilk this season. Though the implementation of the affidavit system had nothing to do with SkiCo, those mountains will have to adhere to and enforce the system. Just as with any mountain this season, please be sure to check their website or contact the mountain you wish to visit to get any updates on COVID-19 guidelines. It's always better to know before you go.

A Final Thought

Is the affidavit system going too far? The best way to answer that here is to say that the idea of these guidelines going too far has nothing to do with snowsports and is very subjective in nature. There are those that say this is going too far and is stepping on the rights of those that live in this country, specifically those that are living in or visiting Pitkin County, CO. I, however, feel that the county and the cities & towns in that county can do what they think is right to protect their people. If I don't want to deal with it, I just won't go there.

I will say this, however, Since last season shut down due to COVID-19, I have been advising anyone that wants to get back out on the mountain to stay as local as you can. That will take all of the guesswork and frustration out of the ski season. I also get that some people have to travel to ski or ride. If that's the case, then your best bet is to follow the rules or wait a season to get back out there. It'll be easier on you and everyone involved, in that case. 

Photo Credit: AspenSkiingCompany, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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