COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Jared Polis announced during a COVID-19 update Tuesday 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 two weeks ago. 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.
"Our guidance on June 18 allowed for bars to reopen at a limited capacity. Our country hasn’t figured out how to do bars safely. Bars, nightclubs are a major source of outbreaks. But we simply aren’t ready to have the safe level of mixing," Polis said.
Polis said there are 32,717 cases as of Tuesday. He added that we are experiencing a slight uptick over the last two weeks.
The governor said from a public health perspective, the state needs to be at 80 to 85% mask wearing. He said that he thinks it has helped that people like Vice President Mike Pence are wearing masks. It should not be an ideological or party issue, Polis said.
Polis then said he just spoke to the governors of Texas and Arizona, who told him that there recent spikes in case numbers can in part be contributed to large private parties and reopening of bars and nightclubs.
Polis then urged people to keep Fourth of July celebrations small. "When people have large parties, there's a spike," Polis said.
He said he's ready to give specifics on what it take for Colorado to move to the next phase, the "Protect Our Neighbors Phase," but there is no relaxing of restrictions. He then said we'll be in the "Protect Our Neighbors Phase" until there's a vaccine or cure.
Polis spoke about jobs, saying that Colorado has recovered 20% of the jobs that were lost in March and April. Our unemployment rate is 10.2%, which is lower than the national average, but still unacceptable, Polis said.
He added that some areas of the state with low numbers will likely be able to move into the "Protect Our Neighbors Phase" sometime this summer and bars will be allowed to open in those areas.
Polis then spoke about the next phase means. For a county to qualify for the "Protect Our Neighbors Phase," three things will be required: low virus prevalence, health care capacity to handle a surge of cases, and strong public health capacity.