COVID-19 & summer safety: a letter from Public Health Director Grace Franklin

School is out, and summer is right around the corner. But COVID-19 is still around, and it loves to “hitchhike.” 

So how does that look for Memorial Day barbeques, camping trips, hiking, biking and basically enjoying your summer while still protecting yourself and your loved ones?

You can and should do all of these activities, just make some modifications for best practices during this pandemic.

Planning a Memorial Day barbeque? 

As long as you limit group size to less than ten people, you can still have your barbeque get together. Just remember to maintain physical distancing and wear your face masks. If you are hosting people from outside of your household, consider assigning each person a utensil to use if sharing group dishes. Host the BBQ outdoors for good airflow. Bottom line, avoid touching the same items, wash your hands frequently, disinfect high-touch surfaces and be mindful of best practices. 

Do I need to wear a mask when I am outdoors?

We know people have strong feelings about wearing face masks. Here’s the deal -- there’s enough evidence to promote wearing face masks in public places. When you are engaged in outdoor activities, it’s a good idea to have one with you in the event you find yourself close to other people. 

Can my kids play with other kids?

We know you and your kids are “climbing the walls,” and we’re not even a week into summer break. Your kids are going to want to play with others, and it’s recommended that you take into consideration anyone vulnerable in your household (over 65 years old, pre-existing condition, immune-compromised). If Grandma is staying with you this summer, you should be mindful if your kids play with multiple friends they risk bringing home the virus. But if you and your family are not at high-risk, and there are families you are confident are practicing good COVID-safety, you can let the kids play together. You should have a direct conversation about the risks, how the kids will play and other expectations. Try to have them play outdoors and avoid sharing the same toys and have them wash their hands before and after play-time.

Taking a day trip or going camping?

Assemble a COVID-To-Go-Kit: include disinfecting wipes, disposable rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, multiple face masks. Have this on hand for any planned or unplanned travel. 

Know before you go:

For any travel, in addition to being prepared for road conditions and changing weather, check what you will have access to. For example, if you are going camping, check online to know what campgrounds are open and what orders are in place. It’s also recommended that you pack essentials including food, emergency supplies and other resources to avoid shopping and having unnecessary contact with others.

Be sensitive to locals: 

We are not the only locals! Let’s be gracious guests when we visit other communities. Remember, we are all in this together.

And finally, do your part and practice our so-called “Covid-19 Golden Rules:” 

  • Wear a face mask in public places
  • Maintain physical distancing
  • Limit group sizes to less than ten people
  • Wash your hands and don’t touch your face

Thanks to everyone for doing your part. All of us wish you and yours a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend. 

Grace Franklin
San Miguel County Public Health Director

For any additional questions, the county has a COVID-19 hotline available at (970) 728-3844 or you can email 

Posted by Steve Cieciuch (Chet-chu) on


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