COLORADO — Gov. Jared Polis addressed the rising cases in the state, especially among younger Coloradans, as well as reiterated the importance of mask wearing and social distancing in a press conference Thursday.
Polis announced that he will now be giving updates twice a week as COVID-19 cases rise in the state. He said more than half the state has a mask mandate and he said the state's mask wearing is one of the reasons we are doing better than other states. The incidents of the virus is growing in our state and that minor changes need to be made to help control that.
"While we have an upward trend, we do not have any capacity issues in our hospitals," Polis said.
The governor reiterated that trends in other states show the rise in COVID-19 cases come from bars and restaurants. He said restaurants and bars serving food in the state should focus on being careful and practicing safety measures to help slow the spread of the virus. In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases among younger Coloradans. Polis said they are advising people to not have large parties and keep gatherings small.
The last update came on June 30 where Polis announced that bars will be closed for in-person service in an effort to keep case numbers from rising. Polis said the guidance for bars will be modified back to where it was mid-June. Bars will be closed to in-person service but can continue to serve alcohol to go. Bars that now serve food and function as a restaurant can stay open for in-person service so long as there is no mingling, everyone is seated only with their party, and people maintain social distancing of six feet.
"And the young people of Colorado need to understand...we have to forgo, and you have to forgo, parties this summer and perhaps into the fall," he said. "So have fun with your friends in smaller groups."
He said as long as people are taking precautions, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, they are significantly reducing the likelihood of the transmission of the virus. Economically, the governor said small businesses are doing better than other states.
Polis also announced a new modeling tool that is accessible to Coloradans to manipulate variables and view various models of the trajectory of the virus. In terms of enforcement, the governor said as a state it is not possible to enforce mask wearing for residents and that it requires local buy-in. But they are able to enforce it on a business level.
Polis said to "wear a damn mask" and to not "wait until there is a mask-wearing ordinance in your area...wear one because you might save your life, save your job."
The governor said an outbreak model the state follows would be used for school for the fall, specifically in terms of contact tracing and outbreaks. In the event there is an outbreak, he said it would be more than likely students would go home for online learning until the incubation period expires.