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In a press release this morning from the Lake County Emergency Operations Center, Lake County announced that it is canceling summer 2020 special events in Lake County. Lake County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) formalized the recommendation by the county’s many involved review agencies, voting unanimously at their May 12 meeting to deny current special event permits for proposed events through September 2020 that would be unable to successfully operate within a 250 person maximum.

“Lake County is held to the State of Colorado requirements for events and public gatherings, which continue to project strict limitations on participant numbers through the end of the summer,” said Lake County Public Health Director Colleen Nielsen. “Unfortunately, at this point, the type and size of events being proposed were incompatible with those restrictions,”

Image courtesy of Leadville Race Series Facebook page.

The collaborative recommendation was made by numerous Leadville and Lake County agencies during a virtual meeting on May 7. Those agencies included Lake County Public Health Agency, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Leadville Police Department, Lake County Search and Rescue, Leadville Lake County Fire Rescue, Lake County Office of Emergency Management, St. Vincent Ambulance Service, Lake County Clerk & Recorder, and the Recreation, Public Works, and Building and Land Use Departments.

After considering impacts to local health and safety resources and response capacity, as well as the limitations imposed by the State of Colorado under the Safer-At-Home public health order, they voted unanimously to recommend denial of permits for the proposed summer events in order to ensure resources were available for local resident needs.

Canceled events include the iconic Leadville Race Series, which it was determined would not be able to operate within the required parameters, based on the number of event participants, support crews, volunteers, and additional people these events draw into the community.

“Event planners may do everything they can to promote safety protocols with their participants, however ensuring that for the spectators and athlete supporters would fall on County and associated agencies, something [that is] far beyond current capacity,” said Building and Lake Use Senior Planner, Anne Schneider,.

The county has noted that many event organizers proactively and voluntarily withdrew their special event permit applications prior to the May 12 BoCC decision, citing their own concerns over managing event operations and the need to make decisions on planning, expenses, and participant and vendor notifications well before the proposed event date.

Nielsen said that this decision will continue to be evaluated through the coming months as state guidelines evolve and local data are monitored.