El Paso County Board of Commissioners approves alternative opening plan for increased capacity for shuttles buses and vans, restaurants, and private special events

El Paso County, CO – El Paso County Public Health presented another variance request at Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, which proposes an alternative opening plan and safety standards for expanded capacity for shuttle buses and vans, restaurants, and private special events. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve this most recent variance request, which will now be sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for further review and approval. This variance request, like all others, will need final approval from the state before it can go into effect locally. 

The variance was a collaboration between El Paso County Public Health, local hospitals and industry leaders, including the Broadmoor. Broadmoor leadership was an excellent partner, spearheading this effort on behalf of the local business community. 

“I want to express my appreciation to the Broadmoor for working together with us, and for their willingness to talk in detail with our health officials. This is an expression of a partnership between our industries and our agencies who have responsibilities for the health and safety of our environment and community,” said El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf.

“We are excited to be able to request expanded capacities for private special events and restaurants in El Paso County, which is largely due to the hard work and dedication of this community,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County Public Health Medical Director. “While we are optimistic moving forward, we want to remind people to continue to remember the importance of prevention – wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing, and frequently washing your hands.”

Key takeaways from the variance request include:

Shuttle vans and buses (does not include those that are identified as Critical Businesses or as necessary for Necessary Activities)

  • Shuttle buses and vans may operate at 75 percent capacity or the maximum allowable provided that 6-foot distancing between groups is maintained, whichever is less, providing the following requirements are met:
    • Windows must remain open for the duration of the ride.
    • Cloth face coverings or masks must be worn by all riders over nose and mouth. The operator must provide masks to riders without their own.
    • Hand sanitizer must be made available to riders upon entering and exiting the bus or van.
    • Shuttle bus and van interiors must be cleaned and disinfected at least three (3) times per day. Electrostatic sprayers are recommended if available.
  • The seat behind the driver may be used if a fixed plexiglass barrier is installed behind the driver. 

Restaurants and private special events

  • El Paso County requests that the capacity limit per confined indoor space for restaurants and private special events be increased to 50 percent of fire code occupancy or 175 people, whichever is less. 

Public Health remains dedicated to exploring innovative yet safe ways to gradually ease restrictions and help our community continue to thrive.


Michelle Hewitt
Public Health information Officer
(719) 578-3239
El Paso County, CO