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There is now no excuse for not following Colorado’s facemask mandate to combat the coronavirus known as COVID-19 in Chaffee County, whether you’re a resident or visitor.

In early July, the Chaffee County Visitor’s Board (CCVB), together with the Salida and Buena Vista Chambers of Commerce made a $10,000 matching grant to Buena Vista, Nathrop, Poncha Springs, and Salida to “pitch in and “mask up” for the safety and well-being of residents and visitors.  CCVB announced it would match up to ten thousand dollars raised to continue a “mask up” campaign which they began in June.

The Salida Chamber of Commerce and Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Welcome Center have worked together to create a signature town , being distributing through businesses that are members of their Chambers of Commerce.

“The chamber has plenty for you to give away at your business,” read a Buena Vista Chamber message to chamber members this week.

“Businesses and visitors are welcome to stop by the Buena Vista Welcome Center & Chamber of Commerce to get their masks today,” said BV Chamber representative Melissa Traynham.

The BV-Salida imprinted bandanas are free of charge, thanks to a generous donation from the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau, whose role it is to support Chaffee County businesses, and municipalities.

The idea for bandanas was first inspired by citizens who both purchased and distributed masks out of the goodness of their hearts, CCVB took their lead and purchased 10,000 custom branded bandanas that have been distributed throughout the county at no charge.  said CCVB Director Scott Peterson.

“We realized quickly that the first batch of masks that we ordered would not last long.  We continue to see an increase in visitors, and simply put, there are not enough masks being used in our communities, and we needed to continue our efforts in encouraging our community members and visitors to mask up and help keep us open for business,” said Peterson. “Businesses may pick up bandanas for distribution at the Salida Chamber Of Commerce or the Buena Vista Chamber Of Commerce & Visitors Center.”

Angel Rowel, President of the Salida Business Alliance has also made deliveries to hotels, motels, and local businesses.  Peterson says the CCVB remains committed to putting up to ten thousand dollars per dollar raised to continue this campaign.

Funds raised will be put not only towards the purchase of more bandanas, but they will also be used to educate our visitors about safe practices in Chaffee County.  As part of the kick-off, what Peterson refers to as ” friendly T-Rex dinosaurs” are distributing bandanas throughout the valley.

Public Health has endorsed the effort.  “Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) is proud of the Chaffee County community for stepping up and taking the wearing of masks seriously,” said Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom.  “As one of the five commitments to fighting the spread of COVID-19, the wearing of masks, while mildly inconvenient for most, is a proven prevention tool.  Now, more than ever before, we need to protect our residents and visitors alike, and the fun bandanas that CCVB has created are an easy way to help achieve this.”

Private entities that have so far contributed to the bandana effort include First Colorado Land Office, Pinon Real Estate, DSI, High Country Bank, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Dan Bender, and Monarch Mountain.

“We love our community, and we want to help keep our neighbors and our visitors comfortable,” said High Country Bank Marketing Director James Bove. “We want our customers to be able to feel like they have the resources to keep their businesses open.  This is a little thing that we could do to help them stay open in a safer environment.”

Businesses who want to make a donation or would like to learn more about this campaign, please visit: https://www.colorfulcolorado.com/donation.

For more about the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau visit www.colorfulcolorado.com.