SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Spring break usually brings thousands of visitors to resort mountain towns in Summit County, but Thursday, main streets were ghost towns, only a few locals could be spotted walking dogs.
Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence knows the ghost towns that now make up Summit County, will leave a lasting impact here.
“This is unprecedented. This time of year we would have thousands of people on our sidewalks in Breckenridge and spread out all throughout Summit County. Every single night at dinner there would be one to two hour waits at every restaurant right now. So my heart really hurts for those employees and business owners who are so dependent on spring break,” Lawrence said. “This is a critical time for us, a crucial time and for that to not be happening, is incredibly tough.”
While the rest of Colorado is now under stay at home orders, Summit County residents have lived under local similar rules for 10 days already. Visitors have been ordered to leave, hotels and all lodging including Airbnb, forced to close down.
“It’s incredibly tough. It’s hard for people not to feel boxed in, this is for the greater good. I’ve encouraged people to lean in to it, to realize that the order has a purpose to it and it’s to save people’s lives,” she added.
Lawrence said most people are following the orders to stay home, but some people from outside the community are causing problems.
“Our biggest issues have been the large amount of visitors coming here to enjoy all of our outdoor recreation. That seems to be our biggest problem because they are our visitors and it’s hard for our services to keep up with it,” Lawrence said.
County leaders are hoping visitors stay away, as hard of a message that is to send for this resort destination.
“Take a stroll anywhere in Summit County and it’s empty, it feels like it lost a little bit of its soul, and to see that, is heartbreaking.”
Early next week, Summit County leaders will set up a reentry task force, trying to figure out when will it be back to normal and how that will work.