If you are ready to resume a fairly normal routine and build back the local economy, you should be happy about Mesa County's 'Free to Choose' initiative.

The 'Free to Choose' initiative was passed by the Mesa County Commissioners on Monday, setting the county on a course pointing toward normalcy and giving residents the authority and responsibility to make their own choices when it comes to protecting themselves from COVID-19.

The Resolution Has 5 Key Points

  • It will be up to each individual local business to determine if they want to limit capacity in their facility, require face coverings, social distancing, or other safety measures.
  • Individual residents will be able to decide if they want to continue to wear face coverings, and whether or not they want to patronize businesses that may or may not employ facemask requirements, social distancing, and other safety measures.
  • Mesa County Public Health will continue to encourage residents to practice safety measures, but the ultimate decision will be up to each individual resident.
  • Mesa County Public Health will still recognize 5-star businesses, which must continue the practices they've adopted to maintain the designation.
  • Event organizers are encouraged to implement social distancing and safety measures, and events with more than 2,500 in attendance will have to go through a plan review process with MCPH.
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The Rationale Behind the Measure

The resolution points to the idea that protecting the most vulnerable and at-risk residents county is a shared responsibility and that the county has done that. It's also pointed out that hospital bed usage in Mesa County continues to decrease and hospital capacity is no longer an issue.

The local economy is at the crux of the initiative which suggests local small businesses have been at a disadvantage when compared to national businesses and points to how important those businesses are to the economic health of the community and the people they employ.

When Does the Initiative Go Into Effect?

The 'Free to Choose' Initiative will go into effect at a point when all Mesa County residents age 16 and older have adequate access to the COVID-19 vaccine. They expect that date to come after April 16, but no later than May 1.

Of course, when it comes to the pandemic, nothing is engraved in stone, but, at least the county has a plan to move forward and get us closer to a point of normal. With any luck, the COVID numbers will continue to show a downward trend and vaccination numbers will continue to rise. If that is the case, the Mesa County plan should work as perfectly as possible.

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