Press Release 5/11/2020 – Message From the Mayor
As I thought about this message today, I thought about you. All the people in Alamosa. Our town is full of hard working, caring, diverse individuals I am proud to call friends. Thank you, fellow Alamosans, for your continued patience and cooperation as we work through this pandemic together. We are in this together.
As we move into the next phase of opening Alamosa for business, we must find balance between opening while keeping consumers and business owners safe. It’s not a hard thing to do; it’s just kind of awkward. However, our actions during this time will determine the future of our economy as well as the health of our most vulnerable populations. Every single person is key.
In this Safer-at-Home phase, all individuals are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask in public. If you are age 65 or older, or if you have an underlying health condition, it is even more critical for you to continue to stay at home for your own protection. If you are fortunate to be healthy, be considerate of others and the risk you may pose to them if you turn out to be a carrier of the virus without even knowing it. That’s where face coverings come in. Covering your mouth and nose while you are out in public to protect those around you.
This month to honor Mental Health Awareness, San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group and others are offering free resources throughout the month of May. Check out their Facebook page at slvbhg or call (719) 589-3671.
Also, congratulations to graduating seniors at ASU, Alamosa High School, TSJC, and the 13 cadets graduating from Police Academy! The hassle is worth the tassel! We look forward to working with you in our community soon.
We encourage you to shop and buy curbside meals from local restaurants. But please! Do so carefully so we can get back on track and back to as much normal activity as possible.
As retail establishments continue to open up, it is critical that we shop local!
It’s all up to you!
Now I want to take a minute to answer questions I have received over the last several weeks.
What is the City doing to make sure that our first responders have all of the safety equipment they need to protect them from COVID-19?
We began by improvising like everyone had to in the early days of the pandemic. We have moved on from that dire situation to placing orders as product becomes available. Police and Fire have been able to process some orders independently and in cooperation with Alamosa County Health for PPE, and will need more in the near future.
Is there a collaborative working relationship with the City, County, and the hospital in regards to the COVID-19 issue, and if so how is it working out and which departments are working together from each entity?
The City is working closely with Alamosa County Public Health and the State of Colorado to evaluate, plan, and recommend COVID-19 response. This includes some follow-up with Police if orders need to be clarified in the business community. Alamosa Fire Chief, Don Chapman, is overseeing emergency operations for the City and is in daily contact with a number of local, state, and national agencies sharing strategic planning. The hospital and local health providers are also communicating regularly amongst themselves and with the Valley Emergency Management group.
What is the City doing to help our local businesses? If this State Order continues is there any consideration of the City or County asking for some sort of variance from the State for some of our businesses to reopen with the proper safety measures in place? Why is the City allowing businesses that are not classified as essential to remain open? Who is in charge of enforcing the state’s orders and are they being enforced fairly?
The City is following direction from Alamosa County Public Health regarding pandemic policy and enforcement. Alamosa County Public Health has requested compliance checks on a few locations in Alamosa and the City has responded with Police contact. Every business contacted modified operations and complied with the orders without incident. The City will continue compliance checks when directed by County Health.
The City of Alamosa will not request variance from State order because that request is a function of Alamosa County. They are researching application requirements now.
The City has been busy sharing grant, loan, and compliance information with struggling City businesses. Since the Library is closed, Library staff called each and every business to check in and research needs. As a result of the phone interviews, The City made 0% interest loans available to help businesses bridge the gap while they reopen and get back on their feet. This week 15 businesses will receive their loans with the overall total just shy of $100,000.
We have noticed that there used to be confusion in the community on which businesses were essential, although that is not as much of an issue now that we are operating in the Safer at Home stage. However, to answer that question directly, some people would assume the business was not essential not realizing that if they sold one type of item that qualified, then the business could remain open. For example, many of the products sold by Kristi Mountain Sports would not have qualified as essential but their bike repair and efforts for the facemasks did qualify.
What can the City do to make sure that people wear masks? When is the City going to make the big box stores, restaurants and other businesses be more responsible by requiring ALL of their employees wear mask and make it mandatory that ALL customers wear mask prior to entering the store and or provide mask for people that enter the store?
Masks are required for all business employees and will be enforced. While out in public, masks are strongly encouraged for everyone, but the Governor’s orders do not make them mandatory. The City does not have any plans to make wearing masks mandatory, but we do strongly encourage the use of masks. The City believes everyone is up-to-date on mask use, but there is some community push back over the necessity of social distancing and masks. That being said, community member actions during this time will determine the future of our economy as well as the health of our most vulnerable populations. Every single person is key.
What is the City doing to make sure that the medical facilities have access to COVID-19 testing kits and mask? How many COVID-19 testing kits are available?
The City plays no role in acquiring or delivering testing. Please follow Alamosa County Public Health and SLV Emergency for updates.
What type of communication has the City had with ASD, ASU, TSJC, and childcare facilities to help with any of their COVID-19 issues?
The City has held conversations with ASD regarding several items. ASU, TSJC, and ASD have actively engaged with the Valley Emergency Management group, which the City participates in as well.
What type of communication has the City had with the Governor’s office, our U.S. Senators and other local and state elected representatives? Are the elected officials considering our rural community and business community concerns?
The City has participated in hundreds of webinars, phone calls, and zoom meetings with State agencies including the Governor’s Office and state and federal elected officials. The elected officials have been keenly aware of the need to reach out to rural communities and gather information separately from metro areas. Their offices should be commended for the efforts to make sure that rural voices are strong in these discussions.
How has the City been working with local community partners such as churches and food banks to keep people informed of the community services available?
Several churches reached out with the ability to volunteer and help. They were connected with the Valley Emergency Management group. The City has been in regular contact with La Puente.
Is the City working with any organizations to make sure our elderly population gets access to food and essentials?
Alamosa is fortunate to have strong organizations such as the Senior Center, South Central Colorado Seniors, and Alamosa County Human Services who are working hard for our seniors.
What is the City doing in regards to making parks and trails available so people can do something other than staying in their homes?
- Outdoor Basketball/Volleyball Courts – open for individual use or household use (limit use to 60 minutes if others are waiting)
- Tennis Courts – open for household use only or one person use of backboard or personal ball machine. Do not pick up other’s balls on court and limit use to 60 minutes if others are waiting.
- Disc Golf – remains open with current precautions
- Golf Course – remains open with current precautions and allow limited cart rental
- Playgrounds – remain closed
- Park Pavilions – open for use of 10 or less
- Trails/River – remain open
- Ballfields/Soccer Fields – open for individual or household use (limit use to 60 minutes if others are waiting)
- Dog Parks – remain open
- Skate Park/Pump Track – open with restrictions. No more than 10 people may use at one time and no touching of features like metal coping and rails.
What is the City doing to work groups that serve the homeless population to help inform them and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The County/City Joint COVID-19 Task Force is preparing a plan to submit for state approval to house any homeless individual who is symptomatic or tests positive at a hotel. Additionally, the Task Force has identified City-owned land near the Recreation Center to serve as a campsite that will include water, handwashing stations, port-a-potties, and dumpsters for unsheltered homeless who cannot remain in their current camps.
People are feeling fearful and experiencing anxiety what is the city doing to help ease the fears and anxiety in our community. What services are available for people who are experiencing mental health issues?
The City relies on Valley Wide Behavioral Health for advice and intervention. We share their contact information widely and frequently, and are very grateful to have that resource in our community. The City has also been using its social media and website to help get accurate and timely information out to residents.
Does the City have any control over residential eviction process?
No. That is a function of the Alamosa County Sheriff.
What is the City doing to keep their staff safe from the COVID-19 while also making sure all of the city services are operational?
The City is committed to serving Alamosa during the pandemic while keeping City employees as safe as possible. City buildings are closed and some staff are working from home while other staff rotates schedules to maintain social distancing. Employees are wearing masks and maintenance crews are busy sanitizing shared work spaces every day. Our hands are chapped from repeated and thorough washing. The public is invited in by appointment only for permitting, finance, clerk, and other functions. Gloves, masks, and social distance are required for all interactions by appointment. The City is also complying with the Governor’s most recent order by requiring employees to complete a health screening prior to each shift. The City’s health insurance carrier has made Telehealth appointments available to employees.
Please do everything you can to keep each other safe while we get Alamosa back on track. We can do this! Thank you for your time. —Mayor Coleman
The City of Alamosa is a multicultural community of 9,000+ centrally located in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. The City was incorporated in 1878 and is the gateway to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve where more than 525,000 visitors enjoy Colorado’s natural beauty each year. For more information, visit us at www.cityofalamosa.org.