DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions under an amended public health order issued Sunday.
The changes include increased capacity for restaurants and an expanded last call to order alcohol for counties on Level Blue and Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial.
The amended order is also bringing changes to the dial. While the levels — green, blue, yellow, red and purple — remain the same, the changes will give counties more wiggle room before they are bumped up and restrictions are tightened.
Increased capacity for restaurants and seated indoor events will allow Level Blue counties to seat 225 people without using the distancing space calculator, up from capacity limits of 175 people. Also, 5 Star-certified businesses on that level may expand capacity limits by 50 people above the Level Blue caps.
Level Yellow counties, which includes Denver, may increase to 150 people without using the distancing space calculator, up from capacity limits of 50% or 50 people.
Last call to order alcohol at restaurants has been expanded to 2 a.m. in counties that are currently at Level Blue. Level Yellow counties will need to stop serving at 1 a.m. Level Orange and Level Red are at midnight and 10 p.m., respectively.
CDPHE also made changes to the COVID-19 dial. Case numbers in counties can now be over the threshold on their current dial level without the agency moving them up on the dial. However, case numbers cannot exceed the lowest metrics on the next level by more than 15%.
Mask wearing requirements have also been relaxed in some instances. Masks may be removed in a school classroom setting for the purpose of playing a musical instrument that cannot otherwise be played while wearing a mask, but students must continue to physically distance.
The changes come as case numbers in Colorado continue to drop and vaccine shipments to the state increase. Also, new federal health guidelines allowing fully vaccinated people to gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing.