By Jamie Leary

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Following the closure of indoor dining, Summit County officials continue to discuss further capacity restrictions at its four ski resorts. While the restrictions could mean a different kind of vacation for visitors, most, for now, seem unfazed.

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“We were coming no matter what,” said Michelle Eversole of Arkansas.

Michelle has been planning her vacation since August and was determined to celebrate her son’s 25th birthday alongside him. The Eversoles even waited online to make reservations to ski on the day the Vail Resorts system opened.

“It’s been awesome,” said Michelle’s son, Brad.

Summit County Public Health said following a meeting on Monday, staff were finalizing new capacity limits with the ski resort leadership. As long as the county stays in Level Red on the state’s dial, reservations to ski could become more difficult.

The latest public health order states that ski areas will have to submit a plan to reduce capacity by Nov. 24:

“Ski Resorts. In accordance with Section III.S. of the CDPHE PHO 20-36 and as a result of the move to Level Red, local ski areas are required to work with the local public health agency to further reduce their daily capacities relative to those designated in their existing COVID-19 operating plans. The local public health agency will approve, or if necessary, impose modified capacities no later than Nov. 24, 2020 with an effective date of Nov. 25, 2020, in order to continue operations.”

“The specific capacity limits are confidential so those details cannot be shared,” stated Summit County Manager Scott Vargo  via e-mail on Monday. “We hope that our case levels will be reduced with these actions and that they can be relaxed when the current PHO expires on Dec. 18th.”

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While new restrictions could make things more complicated, Monday in downtown Breckenridge was bustling and it was hard to find anyone regretting their vacation choice.

“We have been tubing, we have been shopping, we have been eating out and just loving the cold temperature and just diving in the snow here,” said Kim Rogers.

The Rogers family traveled from Texas and tried to cancel their lodging reservation, but were told they couldn’t.

“So, we had to come out and if not we would lose everything,” Kim continued, “They were not cancelling for the pandemic or not even for the fires.”

While she couldn’t cancel, Kim isn’t complaining.

“It hasn’t been bad, it’s fine,” she said. “We’re good the restaurants are wonderful, the sites are amazing the people here are great too, so we’re having a good time so we’re glad we decided to come out.”

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CBS4 stopped the Dunaway family from Dallas, who managed to reserve a day at Breckenridge to ski. They also found plenty of other activities to keep themselves occupied.

“We’ve been bowling, we’re about to go to a movie, we’re getting some food and mostly playing in the snow,” said Brenna.

The town of Breckenridge anticipated things would be busy. As of Oct. 31, Breckenridge occupancy for the Thanksgiving holiday was up 37% compared to the same time last year.

Austyn Dineen, Public Relations Director for the Breckenridge Office of Tourism told CBS4 via email, there are many safe ways to enjoy the holiday, outside of skiing and dining.

“The mountain vacation is certainly different this year. The nice part is the new snow opens up a ton of opportunities for those choosing to travel right now – snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at two Nordic Centers (Gold Run Nordic Center opens on Saturday) and town trails, sledding hill (one new added on to spread guests out because of the pandemic) and Colorado Adventure Guides with guiding services,” Dineen stated.

While restaurants owners and staff are taking a hit with indoor dining closed, retailers have been busy.

“We’ve seen a lot more traffic on the streets. We’ve seen just people checking into hotels and short-term rentals,” said Shannon Hering.

That has translated to the shops Hering manages in Breckenridge. Mountain Style is one of them and on Tuesday, traffic in and out of Mountain Styles was steady.

“Ya know, they can’t go out to eat… we’ve seen a lot of foot traffic in our retail stores,” Hering said.

As a community member, Hering is dismayed to see the impact the closure of indoor dining has had but feels lucky there are people around to support other businesses.

“I will definitely be excited when some of the restrictions get lifted, but it’s nice to see the business in town for sure. I think we need it,” she said.

Jamie Leary