Thursday, 21 Oct 2021

“Stay home, don’t drive”: Denver officials promote safety and patience ahead of snowstorm

Denver residents were urged Friday to stay home during the weekend snowstorm, to be patient with one another, and to help neighbors, especially the infirm and the elderly.

Mayor Michael Hancock, along with other city officials, held a late-morning news conference to update residents on the approaching snowstorm. The news conference ended at noon with a Denver City and County Building bell toll, 12 tolls for 12 months of the COVID-19 battle, and a moment of silence and prayer for victims who have lost their lives in the pandemic.

“Stay home, don’t drive,” Hancock urged the public. For people who do drive in Denver this weekend, they were instructed to “drive slowly, use caution, and give snowplows space.”

Eulois Cleckley, executive director of the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said that 65 snowplow drivers will be working 12-hour shifts and the crews will be working around the clock through the weekend to keep roads and streets passable.

“Our plow drivers are on duty and prepared to run around the clock as long as needed to clear the roadways,” Cleckley said. Denver has 70 large plows to work on “main streets” and smaller plows, 36 pickup trucks, to work on residential side streets.

Cleckley asked that drivers stay of the streets so that snowplows can operate unencumbered. Vehicles parked on city streets should be moved to off-street parking lots if possible so plows have more room to operate.

Shelter available for the homeless

Britta Fisher, the city’s executive director of the Department of Housing Stability, said the city has been working with those who are homeless, and will continue the effort through the weekend, urging people to seek indoor shelter and avoid the dangers of the storm, which is expected to dump about 2 feet of snow in the city.

Fisher said the city is sheltering 2,200 people per night, a 60% increase or 900 people more, than this time last year. The city had 200 more beds available Friday.

An overflow shelter is set up for men at the St. Charles Recreation Center. Women in need can go to the Elati Street Shelter, near the downtown courthouse at 1370 Elati St.

Hancock said that four people experience homelessness in Denver died in a February cold snap. He urged people to take care and seek shelter out of the elements. “It is an unnecessary loss of life,” he said.

Reflecting on lives lost to COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccination shot clinics in Denver have been canceled this weekend, including one at Bear Valley, said Matthew Mueller, executive director of the Denver Office of Emergency Management. Canceled appointments will be promptly rescheduled.

At the end of the news conference, officials asked the public to join in reflection on people who have died because of COVID-19.

“Our prayers for health and healing go out to all of you who have suffered a loss during the pandemic, along with our commitment to support our residents and community on our journey together from rescue to recovery,” Hancock said. “May God cover each and everyone of us and be with us as we continue our journey to defeat this virus.”

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