COLORADO — Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday there would be further guidelines in public places to help combat COVID-19.
Polis said the last call for alcohol will now be at 10 p.m. for the next 30 days, citing drinking as a way of limiting social distancing in public environments.
"It is simply a short-term public health necessity," Polis said. He said places with liquor licenses that have the last call at 2 a.m. will have to follow the modified last call for the next 30 days. It goes into effect on Thursday morning.
The governor’s ban on alcohol sales past 10 p.m. at restaurants and bars that function as restaurants does not prevent those establishments from operating past 10 p.m. However, they can’t serve alcohol past that time.
Polis did not say whether retail sales of alcohol would be affected by this order. According to the governor, the goal is to reduce irresponsible behavior that can spread the virus.
Polis said COVID-19 case trends at this time is showing a reflection of the shutdown of bars from a couple of weeks ago. At the end of last week, Polis announced a new executive order that will require masks to be worn in public indoor spaces. He said masks are important because Coloradans are traveling throughout the state and it is not just a tourist problem.
"It's a very localized approach...We've really embraced that as a state," Polis said. In regards to masks, he said he encourages all ages to wear face masks or coverings. Denver's mask guidelines state those ages 3 and up should wear masks.
During the briefing, the variance process has been praised. Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan of the Colorado Department of Health said the rate of COVID-19 is increasing and there have been 15 counties that have been notified they must submit a mitigation plan since they are not within their limits of variances.
One of these counties is El Paso County and health officials said last week they submitted a mitigation plan to the state. The mitigation plan detailed steps for the next two weeks at the time of submission that the county will take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Polis said many young people are doing a great job, but there are some engaging in risky behavior.
"This is not the summer to party...now is not the time and we need to modify our behavior," Polis said. He mentioned that a majority of younger Coloradans are working essential jobs in restaurants and grocery stores, so if the risky behavior continues it could impact these industries.
The Colorado Department of Education released new guidance Monday for schools to reopen next semester amidst coronavirus concerns. However, local districts still have a large say in what exactly their schooling will look like in the fall.
"At the end of they day, this like a lot of things in life, is a very individualized decision," Polis said as parents figure out how they would like their children to return to school.