Colorado to ease COVID-19 restrictions on Level Red counties next week, Gov. Jared Polis announces

Colorado counties at Level Red on the state’s COVID-19 dial — including Denver and the entire Front Range — will see a loosening of public health restrictions beginning next week, Gov. Jared Polis announced on social media Wednesday night.

In making that decision, Polis cited a sustained decline in new coronavirus infections in Colorado over the past 13 days and noted that only 73% of ICU beds were in use statewide. He did not acknowledge this week’s confirmation that the new, more contagious variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. has arrived in the state.

“This is a direct result of Coloradans stepping up and taking the steps to protect themselves and others,” Polis wrote of the improved metrics. “In light of this and based on the data, I’m asking (the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) to move counties in Red on the dial to Orange, effective Monday.”

In mid-November, state health officials moved Denver and more than a dozen other counties to Level Red, which is one step short of a stay-at-home order and required, among other restrictions, that restaurants stop all in-person dining.

Since then, the state has moved more counties to Level Red, to the point that half of Colorado’s counties now are at that stage on the COVID-19 dial.

At Level Orange, gatherings of up to 10 people from no more than two households will once again be allowed; restaurants may reopen to in-person dining at 25% capacity, or up to 50 people; offices can increase capacity to 25% from 10%; and gyms can up their capacity to 25%, or 25 people, from 10%, or 10 people.

“I’m excited we have thus far successfully avoided another lockdown,” Polis wrote. “To save lives, maybe even your own, it is more important than ever that Coloradans not gather outside their household to celebrate the New Year, and to continue to take the basic steps to protect themselves and others, like wearing masks, only interacting with their own households, and staying 6 feet apart from others when in public.”

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