COLORADO SPRINGS — Good morning southern Colorado and here's what you need to know on your Thursday, April 15.
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An active weather day for southern Colorado as we gear up for areas of rain, snow, and even thunder! Some of the best energy for thunder will be primarily south of the Pikes Peak Region, coming through Fremont and Pueblo counties but arcing northeast through Crowley and Lincoln counties.
We'll see a chance through the morning of spotty drizzle in the plains north of Highway 50, but most of us will wait until the afternoon for areas of rain.
Rain starts over the mountains after lunch and pushes east through the plains in the afternoon. Rain will quickly turn to snow in the mountains, and we'll see snow in the Pikes Peak Region this evening continue through early Friday morning. Even areas like Pueblo and Canon City could see areas of snow overnight as temperatures drop to near freezing.
Starting Friday, El Paso County will no longer implement COVID-19 restrictions
El Paso County will no longer enforce COVID-19 related restrictions beginning Friday as the state's statewide dial expires, allowing local control.
While some counties like Pueblo, have said they will continue to enforce capacity restrictions in restaurants and businesses, El Paso County will not, according to both the Mayor's office and El Paso County Public Health.
El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf told News5 too many small businesses, particularly those in the restaurant and hospitality industry have struggled financially under the various levels of restrictions.
Restaurant owners say they plan to continue safety measures until we are completely out of the pandemic.
"Guest safety, employee safety, we are still going to follow protocol," said Chef Brother Luck.
He told News5 he plans to keep his restaurant capacity at 50% even though he will be allowed to increase it.
Counties to the north of El Paso County are also easing restrictions
Colorado's largest county will also move to 100% capacity levels for restaurants on Friday, Denver officials announced on Wednesday, pointing to a lower mortality rate with more residents getting vaccinated. Denver on Friday will move to "Level Blue," which allows restaurants and gyms to operate at 100% capacity, though six-foot social distancing will still be in place, limiting capacity somewhat.
Denver joins Adams, Arapahoe, and Boulder counties as major metro areas moving to Level Blue on Friday, when the state hands over COVID-19 authority to local governments. The state has a full list of Level Blue restrictions, though some protocols could vary from county to county.
'This pandemic is over' declared Douglas County Commissioners as they voted to opt-out of further Tri-County health orders. The resolution essentially opens up Douglas County businesses and restaurants to operate at full capacity. However, the state mask mandate and other restrictions that apply to indoor gatherings will remain in place. Additionally, Douglas County School District will still be required to follow state guidelines.
Commissioner Abe Laydon brought up the Hans Christian Anderson’s folktale, “The Emperor's New Clothes,” as a way to describe how further health restrictions in Douglas County, in his view, doesn't match up with current data. “Based on the facts that we have before us today, I want to have the courage of that young child (in Anderson’s folktale), and for Douglas County to be first county in the state to say that this pandemic is over,” Laydon said.
Jefferson County Public Health on Tuesday issued a public health order that will move the county toward a full reopening, beginning Friday. From Friday to May 15, the county will operate under "Level Blue" capacity levels, and there won't be changes to that status for that 30-day period.
Starting May 16, Jefferson County plans to move to a new dial level known as "Level Clear," which has no COVID-19 restrictions. The one protocol that could still apply would be an indoor mask requirement. The phase from May 16-August 15 would be an observation period in which Jefferson County monitors hospitalizations more so than case and positivity rates.
State health officials silent on how Dr. Moma clinic was originally vetted
A lot of questions remain after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment notified patients vaccinated at a Colorado springs clinic they’ll need to get vaccinated all over again due to improper vaccine storage.
News 5 wanted to know, how did the clinic get vetted by the state in the first place, and how can people be assured this won’t happen elsewhere? The state health department never got back to us.
That clinic is the Dr. Moma clinic, located inside the Satellite Hotel building off Academy and Airport.
It all started on April 9 when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment notified people it was temporarily pausing vaccinations at the Dr. Moma Clinic “as a result of irregularities in vaccine storage.”
The department said inspectors “observed failure to comply with storage protocols.”
Learn more about steps to take if you received a vaccine at the clinic, click here.
Tragedy To Triumph: An Olympic Story
We are less than 100 days out now from the 2021 summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, a do-over after the games were postponed last year due to the pandemic.
It's a time when we focus not only on the competition, but the story behind the athlete and we had the opportunity to catch up with former Paralympian, John Register, who lives in Colorado Springs, and has an amazing story of survival, perseverance, and fortitude, to tell.
Register was a world-class, soldier athlete, a member of the U.S. Army in the late 1980s, early 1990s, who had had tremendous success in track and field and competed three times to qualify for Olympic competition.
In 1994, during an Olympic trial competition, his life changed in a split second. He was running the 400 meter high hurdles when he landed awkwardly, dislocated his left knee, and severed the artery behind his kneecap. Within a week, the worst possible thing happened to him, he had to have part of his leg, amputated.
He says he lost so much more than just a part of his leg that day, he lost his identity, his Olympic dream, self-doubt crept in. He began to question his place in the world, did he belong, am I still a father, a husband. It was then that his strong family unit really stepped up. He told us, "It was really my wife Alice who said to me, you know what, John, we're going to get through this together, this is just our new normal".
And that became his new rallying cry, but it was the start of a very difficult path to recovery, six long, physically and mentally tough years, literally learning how to walk and run again using a prosthetic leg.
Learn more about his recovery and rise to become a Paralympian in this story with News5's Rob Quirk, click here.
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