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El Paso County commissioners pass new variance to reopen malls, theaters, attractions & more

rock climbing at cave of the winds
Rock climbing at Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The El Paso County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a new variance that would allow many more businesses and recreational activities to reopen in the county if it's approved by the state.

"This is the biggest variance we have proposed yet. We will go to percentages based on space rather than putting caps on certain sectors and that's the big shift for El Paso County and this is a different shift than the rest of the state is doing," said Susan Wheelan, Director of El Paso County Public Health.

The new variance approved Tuesday would allow movie theaters and malls to open at limited capacities, as well as rock-climbing gyms and Olympic training facilities. If approved, malls won't be able to open their food courts.

"We would require that any feature that encourages group gatherings such as the food court or large seating areas in the mall be removed," said Lori Seago, Senior Assistant Attorney of El Paso County.

Also included in the new variance are provisions for certain tourist attractions like Cave of the Winds, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Santa's Workshop, and the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge.

Libraries in the county would also be able to reopen at limited capacities. Currently they only offer curbside pickup and drop-off.

"It's been a long road to get us to reopen everybody knows we've been trying as hard as possible to expedite the re-openings," said District 4 County Commissioner, Longinos Gonzalez, Jr.

The variance still needs to be approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the governor's office.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Local News / News

Alexis Dominguez

Alexis is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo Surco. Learn more about Alexis here.

Andrew McMillan

Andrew is the Digital Content Director for KRDO.com. Learn more about Andrew here.

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