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Emergency Ordinance Expands Mask Requirements in Golden
Golden, Colo. — July 10, 2020 — Golden City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance during their meeting last night, which expands current mask requirements to include indoor and outdoor areas of the city. This goes into effect today. Council made this decision in an effort to protect the community against COVID-19 and keep businesses open.
Ordinance 2140 requires face coverings for anyone working or visiting a building that’s open to the public. The order also requires masks in public areas outside, unless you can maintain six feet of separation from others. This includes streets, sidewalks, parks, trails, etc.
Exemptions to the mask order include:
Children under 3 years of age
People with existing medical conditions that make mask-wearing unsafe to their health
Anyone undergoing a medical procedure (ex. Dentist or doctor appointments)
When you are seated and eating or drinking
Organized sports leagues that are already in compliance with health guidelines
In Golden, follow the Golden Rule and wear a mask to protect others!
This Ordinance expires on Aug. 14 unless City Council votes to extend it. They will re-visit the mask ordinance monthly and make adjustments as necessary based on current health guidelines and pandemic concerns.
Additionally, Council directed staff to look for ways to re-open Clear Creek for limited recreation. Until safe solutions can be identified and implemented, access to the creek will remain closed.
We believe the various legislative and administrative requirements around the Creek and face covering requirements will combine with enforcement and education, education, education to result in the improvement in compliance culture around masks and social distancing that will increase safety, reduce risk of super-spreader events, and allow residents and guests more comfort in enjoying the outdoors.
Bill Fisher, Ward 4 City Councilor
Clear Creek access closed. To be reviewed by City Council July 9th. Paths and trails remain open. Farmer’s Market remains open.
City Manager requires face coverings in public areas when unable to maintain physical distance.
City Council agrees to consider comprehensive mask/face covering Emergency Ordinance (1st reading July 8th, 2nd reading July 9th).
City Council requests emergency authority from Governor Polis to manage Clear Creek water use during pandemic. If granted, this would allow for potential on-creek usage regulation and allowances.
Below are my prepared remarks for the June 30th meeting
I want to acknowledge a concern being voiced by some: Why did we lock down and sacrifice our mental, physical, and economic health to now see the virus again start to rampage through our communities?
The answer – “Safe at home” gave us something we desperately needed: Time.
It truly made us safer and DID save thousands of lives, and allowed us to stock up for a battle that’s poorly understood, get better at the fight and learn new tricks, and prepare ourselves and our families for the 21st Century version of trench warfare.
In Colorado, for example, we have learned that if one of our residents went to the hospital in March with COVID, as opposed to right now, she or he was 50% more likely to die in the hospital then vs now. That’s real. That’s progress.
At every turn during the first few months of the pandemic, officials were behind the curve by weeks or months. In some ways (PPE, testing, and contact tracing), we still are.
In other ways, we are finally catching up here in Colorado – and it is again time to look ahead and make smart, tough choices. We must lead with urgency.
Out of the woods?
The World Health Organization Director General warns we are not out of the woods. All countries are facing a delicate balance, between protecting their people, while minimizing the social and economic damage.
“It’s not a choice between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both.”
The United States’ top infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci agrees, stating: “Right now, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges…”, noting that if we don’t turn things around, “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 (Illnesses) a day.”
CDC Deputy Director Dr. Schuchat says, “This is just the beginning of America’s New Coronavirus Surge.”
We are seeing it… Similar to Denver, Adams, Arapahoe… Jefferson County has had the highest number of weekly positive tests since late May.
Many communities across the US also recognize this risk. For example, cities and counties from LA to Miami are closing beaches or starting to require masks to stop repeat problems and reduce transmission, and leadership across the political spectrum is urging masks.
Finally – The Governor of Colorado just announced a return to closures of bars, etc.
So, do we go “backwards” as people are saying into a complete lock down? Or during the past several months have we learned there may be ways to avoid sacrificing our economic and social health while staying safe enough to have a functioning society?
Every person and every community has a role to play. Golden is no different – we are a popular destination and place to live and certainly have a role to play keeping our community and guests safe and on track.
If we found a drug that reduced your chance of getting COVID-19 disease by 5x, everyone would be clamoring to take it. Well, we do. It’s called the “6 Foot Social Distancing Mask” drug. And right now, it’s the only thing we think works while we figure out testing and tracing and develop a vaccine.
It’s time to use it, and in the same way vaccinations help us and our neighbors, it’s a public health issue where it’s time to stand up, and be neighborly, and ensure we can have the opportunity to keep our economic engine humming and keep safe everyone we care about: our families, our elders, people with immune or other disease issues at greater risk, and our community.
Managing crowds on the Creek will be challenging – and require changes. Unfortunately we have to consider the maximum damage from large crowds initially – and then carve out spaces for reduced risk activities. One person emailed that a person sitting on a park bench reading a book isn’t a danger. Probably not. But that image is not consistent with what we are discussing, and honestly if it was me I would sit somewhere else for now.
I’m in for making changes, and I’m in for the long haul to keep adjusting this program to maximize effectiveness and keep a close eye on fairness and equity. I don’t care how many meetings we have to have to do this, I care that we save lives and do the right thing including leadership with urgency.
Let’s keep our economy afloat. Let’s acknowledge real and present concerns of our fellow Golden residents for COVID and general Creek “busyness,” and let’s do so in a way that references the reality of persistent racial injustice, misogyny and financial discrimination so we can be as equitable as this terrible virus allows.
Even as we invite guests, we must also acknowledge the rights of our residents to have a say in access and use of the Creek through our town – crowding is what, in part, we were already focused on with the Heart of Golden Project!
In an abundance of caution, reviewing Creek access is the right move to keep from creating a super-spreader situation while we get the opportunity to creatively make exceptions and open. Unfortunately as a solution it’s more of a hammer than a scalpel… that must be refined with the appropriate openings, exceptions, etc.
Many of us have been rocked by the overwhelming reality of systemic racism and inequality demonstrated so clearly and obviously the last several weeks. The death of George Floyd and others have focused our country on these longstanding issues.
Mayor Weinberg & Golden City Councilors have provided a strong initial response and appear committed to listening, learning and -most importantly- action.
Key points (see blog for details) o June 4: City Council responds to George Floyd & many black citizens’ deaths during Regular Meeting o June 7: Mayor & Council attend Golden United Vigil & March in Golden. Almost all attendees wearing masks! o June 11: Mayor & City Council unanimously approve Resolution 2736 declaring Racism A Public Health Crisis. Proclamation read for Pride Month (GLBTQ). o JULY 16: Committed to action – Golden City Council Study Session with Police Department on next steps… stay tuned!
City Finances & COVID-19
Golden Pandemic Financial Crisis Review The short answer: Revenues are down, but not as much as we predicted. Sales Tax revenues are down about 5.5%, we anticipated 7-8%. Restaurants, retail and lodging has suffered. Groceries, Home Depot, and online sales are up (Amazon, Wayfair, etc.).
As a former City Councilor I faced the 2008-2009 Great Recession with Golden, and we actually improved financial reserves during that time. We worked closely with Golden’s Finance Director Jeff Hansen and his team.
Fortunately, Jeff remains at the helm for Golden. I trust his thoughtful guidance and deep thinking about how to protect and maintain Golden, weather the current storm, and maybe even come out ahead.
City Manager Jason Slowinski has taken a conservative line on spending since March – City Council has approved the following efforts:
Hold non-critical expenditures (travel, training, upgrades, fireworks, etc.)
Freeze on employee travel
Soft hiring freeze (e.g Park Rangers hired for COVID-19 safety)
The City has identified over $2.6 Million in cuts/holds through the end of the year, which should more than match expected losses. There is a 2nd level of deeper cuts identified if necessary.
Asphalt/street/sidewalk replacement for this year will be limited, with the ability to make further cuts.
It’s also (already) time to start planning the 2021-2022 bi-annual budget, and City Council will be reviewing priorities to share with Staff.
Golden is receiving $1.6 Million from Jefferson County for COVID-19 related expenses. The City Manager and Council discussed plans to ensure it is spent appropriately to benefit our community!
I’ve been clear that Golden is not some desperate City needing to sell off our heritage. This certainly includes the Astor House!
At the June 11th City Council meeting, City Council reviewed Staff recommendations on a thoughtful process to accept offers from long-standing Golden non-profit and other organizations interested in partnering with the City. We authorized Staff and a subcommittee of Councilors to work with community members to make progress and ensure the Astor House doesn’t end up sitting abandoned and decaying.
Honestly, nothing. It’s still here. It just doesn’t do what we thought – or rather it does, but only kind of.
As we know, Golden is landlocked and a desirable community, which means that any growth will be in-fill, scrapes, pop-ups and re-zoning. And THAT means we sometimes get growth that doesn’t fit the character of the community.
Remember, the 1% is a “PER YEAR” number. If we have a little over 8000 housing units in Golden, then about 80 housing units can be built every year. Actually it’s less than that, Council dropped it to only 0.9% a few years ago. Yup.
The 1% ordinance has been effective in one sense – providing relief from very large 500-1000 unit projects. Unfortunately, because of various limitations in the ordinance – and loopholes, it hasn’t stopped some of the mid-size projects that probably were intended to be reduced or halted.
Loopholes? Oh yeah…
Senior housing used to be an exemption
moderate and low-income housing
School of Mines student housing (they’ve put over 1,000 beds in Golden, yep.)
Banking units for the future – Huh? Building half a project one year, then build the other half next year. Totally legal.
And boarding houses. Wait, boarding houses? Yep, they don’t count eiter.
For more on loopholes and caveats, check the City of Golden website here and here.
So what do we do?
First, make the zoning fit the character of the neighborhoods we want. We even know what we want – all those neighborhood plans we’ve developed over the past 10 years? Time for them to stop collecting dust.
Taking the neighborhood plans and embedding those concepts directly into the zoning codes, instead of simply having them be “ideas” of what we want to see, will go further to identify and direct developers towards the type of growth that feels to fit the scale, scope, and character of the neighborhoods where projects are going up.
We’ve done it before – in fact, we were successful a decade ago with zoning restrictions for Washington Avenue downtown to restrict heights and protect the charm and character of our downtown main street, and I think we can apply those principles again.
We can do more. I’m running to provide a strong vision encompassing shared respect for our historic small-town character and greater balance for those of us who live here in light of the increasing numbers of visitors and those hoping to join our community.
Let’s work together and see what we can accomplish on the 1% growth ordinance and more.
Voting is going on now. I encourage you to read more about my vision, values, and plan for Golden at WilliamFisher.com.
If elected, I am ready to hit the ground running with practical and concrete ways we can respond to COVID-19 and the economic crisis – while enhancing and preserving our way of life and small-town character.
City Councilors should be listening to residents, responding, and then taking action to support our community. It’s not enough to talk about issues, concerns and problems. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
I have been involved in Golden at many levels, and continue to put in the effort we need now:
Former GURA Commissioner – Golden’s Urban Renewal Authority. I am ready to support our local businesses
Kathy and I serve and support community school PTAs, I am endorsed by Support JeffCo Kids
NamedJefferson County Public Health Champion. I supported Radon gas mitigation for residents and served as Director on the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council focused on safe shutdown of the nuclear weapons trigger site and protecting workers. I continue efforts to reduce youth access to marijuana and vaping tobacco and promote safety during COVID-19
I served Golden’s Sustainability Initiative and Golden’s Campaign Election Board. (The City has many opportunities to serve on boards, commissions, task forces and Leadership Golden – there may be a good fit for your talents and background, consider getting involved!)
Emergency Response – During the Indian Gulch Fire behind the Village at Mountain Ridge, the Mayor and I spearheaded urgent and frequent communications and responses for affected residents
HelpGoldenNow.org and BGoldN urgent food assistance – I am providing ongoing technical support for this important effort initiated by Mayor Weinberg and benefitting both our local restaurants and community members in need of food assistance.
And of course I served Ward 4 on City Council previously. My campaign focus remains on Golden’s needs now and for the future – yet perhaps it is appropriate to reflect on what we as a community accomplished during my previous tenure:
Launching neighborhood Parking Permits
Highway 93 – Beating the Beltway/raised tollroad and providing noise-reducing berms and walls (we can do more!)
Engaging Mines to reduce building and stadium heights and expand parking (Let’s complete the IGA)
Communicating regularly with residents in-person and through WilliamFisher.com and the Ward 4 Email newsletter.
Purchasing and reserving critical open space (Now let’s protect the Astor House)
Securing permanent status for our Golden Community Garden with water source and the Golden Bike Park
Completing Safe Routes to School for our kids and trail connectors for everyone
Protecting main street with lower height limits along Wash Avenue
Initiating complete streets (e.g. Jackson St) focused on those with transportation and mobility issues, peds and bikes
promoting Light Rail & Alternative transit into Golden (The first new RTD line in decades opened here in 2013)
If you share my vision and priorities for Golden, I ask for your vote.
How to Vote:
You can mail your ballot USPS by April 24th with postage.
You can drop your ballot at Golden City Hall (911 10th St) by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28.
*Special Note:Share this voting opportunity with your 18-year-old High School Seniors and College Students that may be home! Also, the City Clerk’s office notified us some 16- and 17-year-old residents accidentally received ballots, but are not eligible to vote in this election (unless they turn 18 on or before April 28th). I’ve posted details from the City & County on what happened on my website.
…And if I can ask a favor?
Please pass this along to anyone who might be in Ward 4 – Village at Mountain Ridge, North Historic Neighborhoods around Mitchell Elementary, Historic Downtown neighborhoods by Clear Creek and Mines, East Street area, along 19th street towards Golden High School, etc.
This mail-only election concludes April 28th (not November). Ballots arrived this week.
This notification was emailed to Ward 4 Candidates Friday April 10th from City Clerk Monica Mendoza:
You may have heard from under-aged voters or their parents who have received a ballot in the mail by error. The City Clerk Office has been working with Jefferson County Elections to address the issue. Please review the talking points below describing the issue and let me know if you have any questions.
Please see the talking points for any incoming questions regarding the mistaken ballots.
Due to a staff error, 59 residents of ward 4 who are pre-registered to vote but will not be 18 years old by Election Day (April 28) mistakenly received ballots for the special election.
16- and 17-year-olds are eligible to pre-register to vote in Colorado, even before they are eligible to vote.
Could those ballots be counted even though the voters are not eligible?
No. Jefferson County Elections has already marked these 59 ballots as ineligible.
If any of these voters accidentally return a ballot, the Jefferson County Elections system will identify the ballot as invalid using the unique barcode on the envelope, and the ballot will not be counted.
How do we fix this?
Jefferson County Elections has already marked all 59 ballots as invalid, so they cannot be counted.
Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern and Golden City Clerk Monica Mendoza are mailing a letter to all 59 residents explaining the error and asking them to discard their ballots.
Jefferson County Elections will also call the voters who have phone numbers on file (27 of the 59) to deliver the same information.
Will this problem affect the other elections this year?
No. Any of these 59 voters who are eligible to vote in the June state primary and/or the November general election will receive their ballots as normal. However, if they are not eligible to vote in those elections, they will not receive ballots.
How did this happen?
Due to current circumstances, Jefferson County Elections was not able to follow standard elections processes in pulling this voter list, which led one elections staff member to erroneously include all registered voters in ward 4, rather than just those 18 and older.
Good for Golden ;-). As reported in the July 15th City Coronavirus update, mask wearing has improved in Downtown & along Clear Creek (August note, this decreased somewhat related to people recreating with tubes on the creek).
That infected Hair Stylist?Wore a mask. 140 people didn’t get sick with COVID-19.
Don’t forget: Good hand hygiene and physical distancing are the best ways to reduce your risk. Using face coverings when unable to distance is a reasonable (yet imperfect) way to go. Here’s what Johns Hopkins Medicine has to say about masks.
Like many health professionals, I’m fielding questions about masks. I research Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines for my Hospice’s 100+ community healthcare personnel and assisted Golden organizations and volunteers stay safer and sort through all the advice.
June update: A meta study looked at 172 other studies, published in the Lancet in June. The analysis found that face mask use “could result in a large reduction in risk of infection.” It also found reduction in transmission with physical distancing and eye protection.
Masks requirements now in effect for more than 60% of Coloradans.
Re-breathing CO2? DEBUNKED myth.
CO2 rebreathing is not a problem. Surgeons and health care professionals wear tighter-fitting masks 12+hours a day without issue. CO2 goes through the mask, and the mask only holds a tiny quantity of air compared to what we breathe. This BBC article is as good as any in debunking this dangerous myth.
Disclaimer: Nobody’s an expert on this right now, including me. I’m sharing thoughts (not medical advice) regarding masks and resources to help you make educated decisions about your own health in this uncertain time.
Why wear a mask? Especially cloth masks or face coverings?
Even a cloth mask or other non-medical face covering provides some protection against virus germs getting into your nose or mouth and infecting you.
The 8th street trail pedestrian temporary bridge is now open! This heavily-used trail goes from Clear Creek and the Community Garden and dog park up to the north neighborhoods and Mitchell Elementary. It has been closed since January.
Also, most city neighborhood parks remain open for outdoor recreation, even as the Golden Community Center and Tony Grampsas are closed.
BilFish, BSN, RN, CHPN
—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4
First, thanks to everyone who tried my Ward 4 Chili at the Chili Cook-off and supported our Golden High School students!
Heart of Golden 2020 / Clear Creek
The Heart of Golden visioning process kicked off in January to learn what residents want as we re-imagine the Clear Creek corridor from the Community Garden to the west to the new Coors property acquisition towards the east.
So far, the process feels designed to ask what cool new amenities we wanted with “pins” on a map, like imagining a new “Disney-fied” version of the Creek as someone suggested (new grills, amusement rides, tubing access points, restaurants, playground equipment, splash pads for kids, trams, etc.).
The City is using the phrase “dream corridor” to guide us. What I’m hearing almost universally is that residents already love Clear Creek – but they have to avoid it because it’s so busy on weekends and is feeling less local, safe, and clean. Natural, peaceful, tidy, local, safe…not sure how to “pin” that to a map?
Tonight, City Council will hear an update from Staff regarding the Heart of Golden process. This will be a great chance (in person or via live video) to see how Staff is interpreting feedback from our community.
The City talks about leaving a lasting legacy. I agree this project will having lasting impacts, and we will need strong leadership on Council to understand and guide how this affects our community now and for the future.
The Heart of Golden 2020 continues next Tuesday, March 11th at 6:30pm in City Hall, please consider sharing your energy and thoughts as we go through this process!
8th Street Closure: pedestrian & school route and bridge update?
Oddly, staff will NOT be providing an update to Council on the unexpected bridge and trail closure. In fact, this has dropped off the City’s Guiding Golden front page (However, you can still find it here). The closure started back in January, and there’s still no sign of a temporary crossing as the City committed to do.
Their last update was in February. We deserve better communication and leadership regarding this closure, and I look forward to more frequent updates -and progress- from the City.
Yard Signs & Neighborhood Meetings
Thanks to so many people agreeing to host yard signs! And yes, if you still have an old yard sign from my last campaign, bring it out of hiding. Please remember to keep the signs staked down well so they don’t blow away.
Over the last month I’ve joined several neighborhood discussions hosted in people’s homes and coffee shops. Thank you for the opportunity, I appreciate the many thoughtful comments and ideas we’ve discussed. It’s refreshing to see how many people love Golden and have great suggestions for improving our town. If you’d like to host a gathering with neighbors, please reach out!
FYI: Don’t forget Coffee with a Councilor this Saturday at 3pm at Cafe 13 to speak with your City Council District representatives Casey Brown and J.J. Trout.
Thanks for reading, and keep the feedback coming!
—William “BilFish” Fisher – Candidate for Golden City Council Ward 4
Special Election: Ballots will be mailed out April 6th for this mail only election and must be returned by April 28th.