Latest COVID-19 in Colorado: State approves restaurant variance for El Paso County

Posted at 7:18 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-24 16:57:59-04

COLORADO — The statewide total of COVID-19 cases stands at 23,487 as of Friday afternoon, with 1,324 deaths among people who had the virus. Of those, 1,088 are directly due to COVID-19. To date, 4,082 people have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic.

Check here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado Springs and Pueblo have both set up hotlines for people to call with questions about COVID-19. In Colorado Springs, call 719-575-8888 or the United Way 2-1-1 hotline. In Pueblo, call 719-583-4444.

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Below, we're updating this blog with the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado.

Sunday, May 24

2:30 p.m. | Arapahoe Basin to reopen Wednesday for limited, reservation-only skiing and snowboarding

Hopefully you didn’t put your ski and snowboard gear away for the season just yet – because Arapahoe Basin will reopen on Wednesday by reservation only more than two months after ski areas were ordered to close statewide.

The ski area off Highway 6 just over Loveland Pass will open back up to limited skiing and riding Wednesday morning , but there will be several caveats that will make hitting the slopes different than it was earlier this winter, before the COVID-19 outbreak hit the state.

2:00 p.m. | Pueblo D60 to live stream graduation ceremonies this week

Pueblo School District 60 is scheduled to premiere its virtual graduation ceremonies as a live stream this week on Comcast channel 18, Facebook, and the District's Vimeo page.

According to the District, each graduation will include every element of a traditional ceremony and provide families with "an intimate experience that have never been able to see before."

9:30 a.m. | State approves restaurant variance for El Paso County

Effective immediately, restaurants throughout El Paso County can now serve customers who choose to dine-in. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified El Paso County Public Health late Saturday evening that a variance request to allow in-person dining was approved.

The variance was approved with the additional requirement that, in order to achieve six feet of social distancing, a maximum of 50 percent of the posted occupancy for a given restaurant be allowed, not to exceed 50 people at any given time.

Reservations will be required. However, walk-in reservations may also be accepted. Dining rooms will need to be set up so that all tables have a minimum of 6 feet of distance between occupied seats at different tables.

9:00 a.m.|'Safer-at-Home' order does not allow employers to discharge folks 65 and older

Basically, while the Safer-at-Home order says vulnerable populations should stay home, unless they need medical care or other essential activities, an employer cannot make this decision for them.

The order makes it clear, it's illegal to discriminate against anyone based on age, disability, or pregnancy.

If you believe you have been discriminated against or not accommodated properly, you should contact the Colorado Civil Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They will look into your case and see what can be done to eliminate any potential discriminatory practices.

8:00 a.m. | COVID-19 effect: Cycling up, bike selection getting thin in Colorado Springs

The bike business is seeing substantial impact from the COVID-19 response.

Now, finding a bike is proving difficult for some.

A lot of bike manufacturing happens in Asia and COVID-19 shut factories down for months.

"Now there's no bikes in the pipeline that normally would be there at this time in the year," Nic Ponsor owner of Criterium Bike Shop in Colorado Springs said.

Saturday, May 23

4:00 p.m. | Royal Gorge Route Railroad rolling for the season

Colorado's finest rolling restaurant is officially back in action.

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad has been shut down since March 15, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars.

The Railroad employees about 300 people in and around Canon City. It's the largest destination attraction in southern Colorado.

The company came close to shutting down for the season just days before Fremont County's variance to reopen was approved by the state.

12:30 p.m. | NBA, Players' Association discussing plan to resume season at Disney resort (AP)

The NBA is in talks with the league's Player's Association regarding a plan to resume the 2019-2020 season, the league said in a statement Saturday.

The plan would be to see all games and practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Florida. Players would also be housed there for the remainder of the season.

Under the plan, league play would resume in "late July."

11:30 a.m. | Teller County variance request approved with amendments

The county requested a variance to portions of the Safer-at-Home Order and it has been approved, with amendments.

Planned large gatherings are allowed but must be reviewed by the county health department. The plans must include a minimum of 6-feet distancing between participants and require face coverings. Events with higher risk of spread like fairs & concerts are not allowed.

For all settings, employees and contracted workers will be monitored daily for symptoms and be required to wear coverings at all times while working.

Friday, May 22

4:55 p.m. | Pueblo adds testing capacity at State Fairgrounds

Pueblo has added another day for people to get tested for COVID-19 at the state fairgrounds.

Fridays have been added to the weekly availability. The fairgrounds can now collect samples for up to 250 tests per day, Tuesday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This schedule runs until May 30.

2:00 p.m.| We're Open Colorado: COSILOVEYOU working to provide free meals to healthcare workers

In the midst of these changes, many local businesses are finding ways to overcome and adapt to keep their doors open, while at the same time, help those around them.

12:30 p.m.| Trump, CDC reclassify places of worship as 'essential,' ordered churches be allowed to stay open

President Donald Trump held a previously unscheduled press briefing at the White House on Friday to unveil Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on reopening places of worship, classifying them as "essential." Trump called on governors to open all places of worship "right now, this weekend." He added that if state governors chose to keep places of worship closed, he would "override them."

11:15 a.m.| More than 100 jobs cut at USOPC

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has cut more than 100 jobs due to COVID-19.

10:00 a.m.|'Give them a fighting chance': Colorado restaurants could reopen as early as next week

The pandemic has been a long saga for Colorado restaurants and bars. After months of uncertainty, the state of Colorado this week released new draft guidance on how the industry should reopen and is seeking feedback from restaurateurs.

8:45 a.m.| CSU to begin COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic health care workers, nursing home residents

Scientists at Colorado State University will conduct novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for workers and residents at up to 30 nursing facilities across the state in an effort to identify asymptomatic individuals. This project, which is between CSU and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), will be essential in preventing outbreaks because some people who don’t show symptoms of COVID-19 test positive for it.

7:15 a.m.| USPS facility that handles mail for all of Colorado ordered to close due to COVID-19 outbreak

A U.S. Postal Service facility that handles mail for all of Colorado and Wyoming was ordered to close Thursday by the City of Denver due to an outbreak of the novel coronavirus inside its premises. The USPS distribution center at 7550 E. 53rd Place was found to have at least five confirmed cases of the new virus by the state of Colorado. The order to close comes a day after the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) visited the distribution facility in which “minimal observations” were made by city health investigators, who alleged the distribution center did not grant them full access and refused to provide vital information during their visit to the site.

6:15 a.m.| Fremont County ready to reopen after variance approved

After weeks of waiting, businesses in Fremont County got the OK to reopen in time for Memorial Day recreation with strict guidelines. The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the make-or-break period for many businesses in the area. This year numbers will be limited due to COVID-19 prevention guidelines, but owners and operators say some business is better than none.

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Get the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in many languages. Email for answers in English.