Denver residents were urged on Friday to stay home during the weekend blizzard, be patient with one another, and help neighbors, especially the sick and the elderly.
Mayor Michael Hancock, along with other city officials, held a press conference late that morning to inform residents of the impending snowstorm. The press conference ended at noon with a bell fee in Denver City and the County Building, 12 fees for 12 months of the COVID-19 battle, and a moment of silence and prayer for victims who lost their lives in the pandemic.
“Stay home, don’t drive,” Hancock urged the public. People driving in Denver this weekend were instructed to “drive slowly, exercise caution, and give way to snow plows.”
Eulois Cleckley, executive director of the city’s Department of Transport and Infrastructure, said 65 snowplow drivers will be working 12-hour shifts and crews will be working 24/7 all weekend to keep roads and paths passable.
“Our plowers are on duty and ready to run around the clock until the streets are cleared,” said Cleckley. Denver has 70 large plows that work on “main roads” and smaller plows, 36 pick-ups, to work on back streets of residential areas.
Cleckley asked the drivers to stay clear of the roads so the snowploughs could work safely. Vehicles parked on city streets should, if possible, be moved to off-street parking spaces so that the plows have more space to work.
Britta Fisher, the executive director of the city’s Department of Housing Stability, said the city has been working with the homeless and will continue efforts over the weekend urging people to seek shelter indoors and avoid the dangers of the storm it is expected to do about 2 feet of snow fall into town.
Fisher said the city is home to 2,200 people a night, an increase of 60%, or 900 people, more than this time last year. The city had 200 more beds available on Friday.
Overflow protection for men will be set up at St. Charles Recreation Center. Women in need can go to the Elati Street Shelter near the downtown courthouse at 1370 Elati Street.
Hancock said four people who became homeless in Denver were killed in a cold snap in February. He urged people to take care of themselves and seek shelter from the elements. “It’s an unnecessary loss of life,” he said.
Reflecting on lives lost to COVID-19
Denver COVID-19 vaccination clinics were canceled this weekend, including one in Bear Valley, said Matthew Mueller, executive director of the Denver Office of Emergency Management. Canceled appointments will be postponed immediately.
At the end of the press conference, officials asked the public to worry about people who have died from COVID-19.
“Our prayers for health and healing go out to all who have suffered a loss during the pandemic, along with our commitment to support our residents and the community on our journey together from rescue to recovery,” said Hancock. “May God cover each of us and be with us as we continue our journey to defeat this virus.”