Over the past few days the Leadership of the Town of Estes Park, The Larimer County Commis- sioners and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment have issued two direc- tives that are meant to reduce the number of visitors to Estes Park over the next month, or per- haps more, in response to the threat from the COVID-19 Virus now emerging within Colorado, and the impact that virus could have on our Town.
The initial letter from Mayor Jirsa requested the National Park Service, a Division of the Depart- ment of Interior, close Rocky Mountain National Park until the middle of April or perhaps longer. That request was supported by the Larimer County Department of Health and Environ- ment as it recognized the threat of a high volume of visitors to a town that has “many retirees- a high risk population- and a lack of critical resources”.
The second communication from the Town Administrator and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment was a public health order meant to limit Visitors to Estes Park by closing all short term accommodations within the Estes Valley for a similar time and for the same reasons as noted above.
The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation was founded as the floods of 2013 im- pacted the Town and the EDC learned important lessons from that disaster that we can apply here:
1- Early decisions made to offset the damage could be concerning to the Town’s population and expensive in the short term but lead to faster management of the damage and a faster re- covery.
2- Leaders who have a strong bias to action are taking risks on the Town’s behalf that are im- portant for the Town’s survival. We should recognize that is the road our current leadership is taking and respect their courage.
3- Leadership resides in more than one person. It resides in the collective action of the Town of Estes Park, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, Larimer County Commis- sioners, the State of Colorado, the Estes Park Hospital and many, many more.
The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation strongly supports the actions taken by our Town’s leadership, and have committed to do our part in helping the businesses in the Estes Valley in their recovery from this exceptional challenge. To that end the Estes Park EDC is work- ing with a number of Estes Valley businesses experiencing financial impacts resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic and we urge all affected businesses to contact President/CEO Adam Shake at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with their recovery plan.
On March 19, 2020, the SBA approved a Business Disaster Declaration which authorizes small businesses to apply for Business Disaster Loans. We are currently working with over fifty busi- nesses as they try to navigate the SBA loan process and that number is growing. We are also in daily conversations with Local, County, State and Federal organizations about other possible business relief and recovery options moving forward and we are ready to facilitate those pro- grams as they become available. We are also watching developments in Washington, DC, re- lated to additional relief programs for businesses and individual and will do our best to be cur- rent on all programs that are being made available.
The road ahead will be difficult. Working together has made an enormous difference in the past as to how quickly we can successfully emerge from our shared challenge. It will be the same in 2020.
With highest regards to you all,
Estes Park Economic Development Corporation
Jim McGibney Board Chair
Christina Kraft Board Vice Chair
Dr.James Pickering Immediate Past Chair
Adam Shake President and CEO