COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — As more Coloradans get vaccinated against COVID-19, state and local leaders are planning to ease restrictions on businesses. The state health department is planning to retire the COVID Dial Framework on April 16. It will be replaced by a new public health order that will give much more control over virus response to local communities.
The color-coded dial framework has been used since September to create a uniform set of rules regarding capacity limits businesses and employers across the state.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he spoke with Governor Polis on Tuesday about the expected changes.
"He indicated that his intention at the current time is that April 16th, the color-coding would become optional, and not mandatory," Mr. Suthers said. "And that, of course, relates to a lot of the capacity."
The mayor said he does not plan to impose new local capacity restrictions over and above the state requirements. That position is shared by the El Paso County Board of Commissioners.
"I would recommend he not wait until the middle of April. I recommend he actually lower them now," said board chairman Commissioner Stan VanderWerf.
He explained that too many small businesses, particularly those in the restaurant and hospitality industry have struggled financially under the various levels of restrictions.
"Every time we administer more vaccines, our risks for spread continue to go down," VanderWerf said.
More than 250,000 people in El Paso County have currently received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That number is above 1.5 million doses statewide.
However, the mayor pointed out that local virus numbers have started to go up again. He warned the community to not let down our guard just yet.
"I want to emphasize to your viewers that we're not out of this. The good news is, we're making a lot of progress in vaccinations."
The state's current mask mandate will expire on Saturday, April 3. However, a spokesperson said the governor intends to sign a new 30-day order that will be modified to account for the varied case counts in each county, and that will take into account feedback received through public comments.