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Mancos declares health disaster emergency

Tier 3 response plan goes into place Thursday
Mancos Town Hall

The town of Mancos has declared a local health disaster emergency and is moving into a Tier 3 COVID-19 response plan.

Declaring a local health disaster emergency will allow local small businesses to apply for emergency disaster funding, according to Town Administrator Heather Alvarez.

“Town of Mancos declares that there is a local health disaster emergency in the Town, and that the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe injury or loss of life or property resulting from the COVID-19 virus requires emergency mitigation,” reads the declaration, which was approved unanimously by the Town Board at a virtual meeting March 25.

The declaration came after the board approved new rules and procedures to allow for electronic meetings, and was approved by the Montezuma County Health Department.

“What this will do is just add more weight to our small businesses that are going to be looking for outside funding to get through this crisis,” Alvarez said at the meeting.

Mancos Mayor Queenie Barz announced the activation of the Tier 3 response plan in a letter posted Wednesday. There are four tiers outlined in the town of Mancos’ COVID-19 response plan:

Tier 1 is activated through a “heightened awareness” of the virus.Tier 2 is activated when it’s a matter of statewide concern.Tier 3 is activated when it’s of Montezuma County concern.Tier 4 is a “full implementation” of the response plan.The Tier 3 response plan is activated when “Montezuma County Health has indicated multiple cases of COVID-19 within the Region.” It directs Mancos employees to stay home if they are high risk or exhibiting symptoms – without having to use sick leave – cancels town meetings or events unless they can be held remotely, cancels recreation programs, authorizes teleworking and staggered shifts, allows for reduced staffing at town buildings, heightens the level of sanitization, and asks selected town staff members to use personal protective equipment.

However, depending on what happens locally and statewide, the town may raise its response level to Tier 4, Alvarez said at the meeting Wednesday night.

In her letter, Barz added that Town Hall will remain closed to the public until further notice, nonessential services are suspended, and that the town is suspending the accrual of late fees and disconnections of water/sewer through April 30, although residents can still pay water bills through drop box, mail and online services.

She highlighted too the good deeds and communal support that have arisen, from neighbors helping one another with grocery shopping to organizations and agencies offering support services.

“Our community and Montezuma County have rallied together during this crisis,” Barz said.