My plan was simple: Keep Thanksgiving dinner to under 10 people and within two households, just as the state public health order dictates.

Our bubble after all is a tightly knit one, consisting of two families each with only three members. Every one of us takes great care to social distance, wear a mask, practice good hygiene, etcetera.

And then came 2a.m. on Sunday. I woke up with total resolve to cancel our plan.

My sleeping mind woke me to the truth I had been denying: Having even a small gathering to share a meal indoors is dangerous. Not only for the health of my family and your family — but also for the economy of our community.

Sacrifices are likewise required for the sake of our ski season.

Just this morning, the Telluride Ski Resort issued a plea to the community to make immediate changes to behavior.

Chad Horning goes so far as to say: “To save the ski season, we must all immediately limit Thanksgiving and future indoor gatherings to only members of our immediate households.” You can read the Ski Resort’s full release here.

So yes, even my own holiday plan needed a serious edit.

And not only because in both of our neat families of three, there is a child — which means our bubbles are bigger than we can really even know. [Read: The Contacts of our Contacts, which begins with a powerful quote from Governor Polis.]

But also because I know very well — kids or not — this virus is everywhere people are, it is everywhere we gather.

As I write this, there have been a total of 177 local cases and seven hospitalizations. In fact, 1 in 25 locals, who we know have had this virus, were hospitalized. And thankfully recovered.

The recent spat of cases in the country stems from Halloween — and a general resistance to appreciate the increased risk of infection that comes along with cold, dry air and indoor environments. What we’re seeing here is that most of our recent cases could have been avoided, if the Five Commitments had been observed.

“Wear a mask; Maintain six feet of physical distance; Minimize group size; Wash hands frequently; Stay home when sick and get tested”

— The Five Commitments

But the reality is this: Telluride’s risk of COVID-19 changed dramatically in the past three weeks.

And just like you, I don’t want my family to contribute to the increasing numbers.

And like everyone, I want the ski area to open safely (for my own mental health, I desperately need to feel the snow under my skis) and for our local businesses to sustain, if not thrive, through the winter.

The pandemic we’ve been preparing for, talking about and bracing for since March (when we thought we were showing up for a 5K), is here now and will most certainly be here for the 90+ days ahead.

Turns out we’re in for an Ironman Triathlon. And we must get to that finish line.

To do so, we must double-down to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have to acknowledge that none of us can count ourselves an exception to the rules we expect others to follow. We all must make personal sacrifices.

Without dramatic changes, the next three weeks will bring an exponentially greater number of infections, greater hospitalizations and potential lock downs, closed businesses and restrictions on travel.

The Telluride Ski and Golf Club is preparing to open the ski resort on Thanksgiving Day. To do so the resort will make a myriad of adjustments, including forgoing all group sales and weddings for this upcoming season.

Financially drastic measures, yes, but totally necessary if there is to be a 2020-2021 ski season. (For the full skinny on their 2020/2021 plans, visit

So what can you do? Look at your Thanksgiving plans and make adjustments.

My new plan: We will see one friend on Thanksgiving, a dear friend, who for the first time in over 15 years won’t share a meal with her aging parents on Thanksgiving.

We will spend the holiday outside, hopefully skiing, possibly hiking. We will share a fireside moment (with masks on), we’ll laugh, share what we’re grateful for, exchange side dishes, and head our separate ways.

Please, join me in rethinking what a holiday celebration can look like. It’s not too late to change your plans to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of our community.

And if you absolutely must travel, limit contacts with other households, opt for take-out and outdoor dining over dining-in. And when you return home, please consider an earnest quarantine effort for 14 days.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to share my personal experiences and my thoughts with you. I’m wishing you the best possible holiday and continued good health.


Dr. Sharon Grundy

Sharon Grundy | MD
Telluride Medical Center