On the morning of March 14, Gov. Jared Polis studied data on coronavirus infection rates in Colorado’s ski towns, which were 20 to 30 times higher than the rates on the Front Range. 

It was Saturday and the busiest day of the season for ski areas — the day when Colorado’s $5 billion resort industry welcomed the largest wave of big-spending, spring-breaking vacationers, pouring in largely from New York, Florida and Texas. 

Resorts wanted one more day to close since the shutdown happened as visitors from all over the country were flocking to Colorado for spring break. Gov. Polis said waiting would have led to more infections.

Polis had concerns that social distancing strategies deployed by the crowded resorts weren’t adequate. Cleaning gondolas and limiting ridership to just families wasn’t enough. Limiting access to mountain facilities wasn’t going to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

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