Letter to our Gypsum Community

To the Gypsum Community:

Life as we know it has been put on hold and we are being asked to cooperate and join in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing. Unlike most unifying efforts, this one asks us to be separate in order to “win.”  Gypsum is a place that takes neighborly to a whole new level and “social distancing” seems to go against that very spirit. But, right now the most neighborly thing you can do is to practice physical distancing in your daily interactions, wash your hands frequently, take care of yourself and others, eat healthy, prioritize quality sleep, and please, get creative in continuing to connect with your friends, neighbors, and community. Physical distancing yes, but social distancing, no! We all need each other now more than ever. Drop a line to a friend, help a neighbor and let’s give the best of ourselves to each other in a time of crisis.

As the Town of Gypsum continues to monitor and respond to the COVID-19 situation, I wanted to provide our community with the latest updates from Town Hall.

Gypsum Response Plan

Last week town management developed a COVID-19 Response Plan to guide town staff in prioritizing our critical and essential operations, keep Gypsum citizens informed, and create a platform upon which future planning can be based. Because the nature of this outbreak is likely to change rapidly, this plan is fluid and will adjust to meet future challenges.

The town’s main priorities and objectives throughout this situation are as follows:
1. To protect the safety, health, and welfare of town employees, their family members, and the Gypsum community.
2. To continue to provide reliable and high-quality services to the Gypsum community
3. To be flexible, understanding, and to stick together as circumstances and information surrounding the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Town Offices & Facilities Operational Changes

The Gypsum Town Hall and offices are currently closed to the public to limit the person-to-person spread of the virus, but we will continue to provide services via phone and/or online. Town staff whose duties allow are temporarily working from home and when necessary will work on-site in staggered shifts through at least April 16, 2020. The goal of these arrangements is to continue to provide essential town services for our community while minimizing in-person contact.

Please visit the town’s website at townofgypsum.com for department contacts and know we will continue to update any operational adjustments on our COVID-19 Updates page.

Local Disaster Emergency Declaration

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Mayor signed a Declaration of Local Disaster Emergency. The signed document is available here. The purpose of this declaration is to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and inter-jurisdictional disaster emergency plans, emergency funding and Town Council meeting procedures, and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance that might be needed under these plans to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The full Council then confirmed and extended this Ordinance in their March 24, 2020, Council Meeting to ensure the community remains eligible for any and all state and federal funding that may be available to the town due as a result of this situation.

Town Council Meetings

To limit the community transmission of COVID-19 to council members, staff, and audience members, beginning with the March 24, 2020 meeting, the Gypsum Town Council Meetings will be call-in only. The public is invited to call in to the meetings using the following phone #. Meetings access codes will be published in the Public Notice and Agenda for each meeting. Audience members are able to listen to the meetings and council discussion but will be muted unless certain agenda topics are open for public comment.

Municipal Election

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, on Monday, March 23, 2020, Mayor Carver exercised his power to protect life and public health in the case of an extraordinary emergency and signed a declaration that postpones the Gypsum Municipal Election from April 7, 2020, to July 7, 2020, and changes the election format from a polling place election to a mail-in ballot.

The Mayor’s aim in making this decision is to protect voter’s health and to adhere to the intent of Eagle County’s latest Public Health Order while ensuring that Town voters can exercise their voting rights without fear for their health. The full Council confirmed this Ordinance in their March 24, 2020, Council Meeting.

Economic Impact

We know the current situation is imposing grave economic impacts across our community and the valley. There are a number of aid and relief programs being initiated at the National, State, County and local level. Recently Governor Polis has taken a number of actions to support Colorado residents and businesses including directing the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s (CDLE) Unemployment Insurance Division to expedite claim payments during this state of emergency. Visit the Department of Labor’s website at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment for more information.

The Governor also recently announced that Colorado small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can now seek individual small business loans as part of the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Small businesses impacted as a result of COVID-19 may apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. For more information about the loan program plus many other small business resources related to COVID-19, visit OEDIT’s website.

Yesterday, Eagle County allocated funds to help the county and community respond and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. Any Eagle County resident who has been financially impacted by COVID-19 may apply for assistance by completing this form. Additionally, the county has prepared a resource guide for the general public and a business guide for employers and local businesses. More county aid information is available here.

Locally, the Town Council and staff are currently evaluating available options to provide some measure of support and relief where it might be within our power to do so. In the meantime, please shop local, buy gift cards for future use, and order take-out from local restaurants offering the service.
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Life is inherently filled with unknowns. We’re all at one of those major inflection points now. The only thing anyone really knows is that we can’t know exactly what to expect. What I do know is that working together and supporting each other is the best way forward. We will do our best to keep the community informed as we make policy and operational adjustments. If you have any questions, please reach out by phone or email.

I am proud of our Gypsum Team (town staff and our citizens) for adjusting so quickly to our new circumstances. Please continue to abide by the recommendations from our local and state health officials and use good judgment in your travels and interactions. This is a new challenge for all of us, but we must care for and have faith in one another. If we do, we will emerge stronger, together.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Rietmann
Gypsum Town Manager

Local COVID-19 Sources & Resources

As things change daily, it’s important to have access to accurate information from any of the following.
www.ecemergency.org
www.vailhealth.org
www.eaglecounty.us/PublicHealth/
www.colorado.gov/cdphe

One Valley Voice is Eagle County’s official COVID-19 forum, delivering factual, timely and relevant information to all Eagle County residents.
https://www.facebook.com/onevalleyvoice

Behavioral health providers are here to help during this tough time. Find a therapist at http://www.eaglevalleybh.org/.

For those who cannot afford it, food is available through the local Salvation Army and The Community Market.