Overview of the Village of Angel Fire
Located in the Sangre De Christo Mountains in Northeastern New Mexico, in the western most area of Colfax County, Angel Fire is best known for its rugged landscape and majestic beauty at an elevation of 8,600 to 10,600 feet. Seasonal tourism is the number one industry with year-round outdoor activities. Our population varies greatly throughout the year with approximately 1200 full time residents to almost 4000 when second home homeowners come to spend months at a time in residence. We then add several more thousands in tourists and outdoor enthusiasts for vacations, events, and nationally recognized outdoor sporting competitions. We are a New Mexico premium outdoor adventure recreation destination.
We are home to the Angel Fire Resort that provides Ski and Snowboarding in the winter, an internationally ranked Bike Park in the summer, and an 18-hole Golf Course, plus multiple RV parks and outdoor camping areas, various other lodging and short term vacation rentals throughout the Village for our residents, families and friends.
The Village of Angel Fire is made up of a 29 square miles area. It is a hub to the surrounding communities, who add approximately 200 square miles of wide-open outdoor recreational space. With only a few essential businesses that are currently open as allowed under the Public Health order, our small business community is struggling to survive. We have become a safe haven for those second home owners attempting to escape their metropolis and seek refuge from the global pandemic. We are a large enough area to accommodate our visitors, but small enough to actively manage this Public Health Emergency.
Emergency Preparedness/ Colfax County COVID-19 Facts
In mid-February, the Village of Angel Fire quietly began surveillance and preparation for the pandemic. We were the first in the State to have a Response Guideline written, a dedicated Ambulance prepped for Infectious Disease response, and began ordering personal protective equipment supplies to establish our full preparedness and response capabilities. We immediately began working with other healthcare partners in the area to have open lines of communication and secure notification among associate healthcare providers in regard to persons being tested for the disease and the results of each test (with a release signed by each patient for information sharing among healthcare providers).
In Western Colfax County, we have had only 4 people infected with COVID-19. We count ourselves lucky and do not take the lack of cases for granted. Our first case was hospitalized, and the next 3 were isolated at home and were A-symptomatic. These cases were all an associated group/family that contracted the disease outside of our valley. We have not encountered any community-spread cases. We have had regular contact with the COVID-positive residents and ensured they had all of the necessary items during their isolation (food, water, essentials, cleaning supplies, etc). Fortunately, all 4 cases have recovered and received clearance from the Department of Health to come out of isolation.
Today we continue to follow the standard disaster outline to include surveillance/preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery and to maintain our partnership with healthcare providers and state agencies and perform contact-tracing beyond what the DOH is performing.
Angel Fire Recovery Task Force: COVID-19 Business Impact Assessment and Recommendations
The Board of Directors of the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Angel Fire created a Business Recovery Task Force, made up of leaders and business owners from various sectors, work directly with local businesses as well as with county officials, state and federal entities, the New Mexico Tourism Department and other Chambers statewide. A survey was sent to local businesses to assess and evaluate the impacts from Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the local level. It helped to gather data, identified common challenges, improved ways to create a re-open response strategy, and identified the need to deploy resources to address critical business needs. The Task Force has prepared this response to send to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration, with an effort to identify best practices for all business to safely open and serve the public.
Angel Fire is committed to doing our part to protect the public health and preserve and strengthen the economic health of our community by putting a plan into action to open in a safe and responsible manner. The opening of our much-needed small businesses in itself would create a safer environment in our communities by further reducing travel of our residents to larger communities that have more to offer at this time.
The Task Force understands that the business community is diverse in the type of services and products they provide to the public. In order to identify best practices to help all businesses open, we have asked each business to create a plan that complies with the State of New Mexico Public Health Orders of April 30th and of May 5th, 2020.
Each business created a set of guidelines for their business type (lodging, retail, restaurants, spas, beauticians, outdoor recreation, etc.) that can be shared with the public. The businesses then took the process a step further and drafted their individual Small Business Plan for Reopening. (We organized and attached these guidelines and tailored plans by business type to this Plan of Recovery)
The Task Force also created and disseminated a survey of our local businesses. As you will see in the summary of the survey we sent, (embedded below) the current business outlook just in the next 15-30 days in Angel Fire is dismal if we are not allowed to re-open within the safety guidelines. Most of our small businesses do not have a fiscal reserve of more than 30-60 days for emergency purposes. Many are heading into the last of their on hand cash or have already exceeded those amounts and have had hard times securing help from the loans made available. Cash flow is a tremendous concern for them all. It is imperative, as an outdoor activity, tourism based village, that we be allowed to reopen both our indoor and outdoor businesses and our short term vacation rentals, proceeding with caution and safety, to allow summer functions that provide a living to the many people of our village and surrounding communities.
In summation, we are confident the Angel Fire small businesses are committed to operate within the spirit, intent and safety practices of the Health Order of April 30, May 5, and May 15, 2020 and will follow a Plan of Recovery and Reopening Practices. Our main priority is the health and safety of our residents, our workforce and visitors alike.
With that in mind, our goal is to focus on reopening businesses:
- Open Businesses outlined in the phased reopening plan first provided by the New Mexico Re Opening Plan Preview, April 30, 2020
- Emphasis wearing masks in all public places
- Adherence to social distancing protocol to maintain six-foot social distancing from other individuals
- Maintain daily surface cleaning schedules in all businesses
- Avoid person to person contact
- Avoid crowds, close off common areas
- Direct employees to wash their hands frequently
- Limit the maximum occupancy of allowable customers in a business
- Curbside pickup and/or delivery services for customers when available
- We will ask retail stores maintain limited purchasing of certain groceries and essentials.
- The village will review and advise on all individual plans contained within this document, suggest audits and/or changes as needed.
One of the major announcements that came from the Governor’s update on May 15 was specific information on sector-specific COVID-Safe Practices, or CSPs. The Governor’s Office has identified universal CSPs for all businesses to adhere to, but there are sector-specific CSPs that tourism businesses must also follow in order to comply with the public health order and offer service to guests in a safe and responsible manner. Sector-specific CSPs along with the master document are listed below: