Broomfield City Council on Tuesday is slated to consider seeking a variance from the state on coronavirus restrictions for certain establishments, such as gyms, pools and fitness facilities; indoor malls; libraries and places of worship.
“These are still significantly restricted under the state’s safer-at-home orders,” Ward 1 Councilman Stan Jezierski said Wednesday during the virtual Back to Business Town Hall.
Council is expected to review language for the variance during its regular meeting before submitting the plan to the state on Wednesday.
During town hall call that addressed “guidance for indoor/outdoor recreation,” Jezierski said a lot of people in the community want pools to open for the summer, which is generally not allowed under the governor’s safer-at-home rules. Where it is allowed, capacity is limited to a maximum of more than four people in a pool at a time.
The variance is a way of saying “we think we’re doing well in Broomfield and the numbers are in our favor so we can start safely opening up,” Jezierski said.
It’s also a way to begin address rules regarding those facilities if the state does pass the power to local municipalities, he said.
Language in the variance, which had not been posted on the Council agenda as of Thursday, is expected to focus more on how patrons can maintain a 6-foot buffer and public health best practices rather than a specific number or percentage of occupancy, which is what restaurants are following.
“Everything is kind of fluid right now,” Jezierski said, adding the state could come out with new rules Monday or Tuesday morning that makes the variance moot. “No one has dealt with this before and everyone is trying to figure it out as new information is coming out each day and things change.
“We want to adapt as quickly as we can,” while maintaining a balance between staying safe and opening things back up and getting to a a level of normality, he said.
Deputy Director of Broomfield Public Health Deb Federspiel, responding during Wednesday’s call to a to a question from an owner of a Broomfield yoga studio, said six mask-wearing people would not be allowed in the studio at once since yoga centers fall under the definition of gyms.
Gyms can are only allowed to operate on a limited basis, she said, which includes personal training sessions limited to three participants and an instructor. An exception is if the participants are from one household.
Broomfield does not have an ordinance requiring face masks, but officials said police would support businesses that asked customers to wear one. Enforcement would be complaint-based only.
Sam Taylor, Broomfield Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said the Chamber has been working with businesses to open as safely as possible and has been in contact with malls, homeowners associations and gyms about moving forward.
The Chamber also has partnered with the Broomfield Community Foundation to start a small business fund, which is still raising money and is not yettaking applications. The fund will provide grants to give businesses extra help with opening. More information is available at broomfieldchamber.com.
At a Broomfield restaurant for lunch Wednesday, Taylor said he could sense how happy customers were just to be sitting down having fresh food.
“Takeout is great, but there’s something to be said for sitting down in a restaurant and having lunch,” he said.