DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday night that he is asking the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to move counties currently in Level Red on the state's COVID-19 dial to Level Orange as the number of cases and ICU capacity have seen a "sustained" decline over the past 13 days.
Polis said he is asking for the change to take place this Monday, Jan. 4.
"Throughout this pandemic, we have had to walk a difficult line between the public health crisis and the economic crisis. In reviewing the data today, Colorado has been in a sustained decline for 13 days, and only 73% of ICU beds statewide are in use. This is a direct result of Coloradans stepping up and taking the steps to protect themselves and others. In light of this and based on the data, I'm asking CDPHE to move counties in Red on the dial to Orange, effective Monday, January 4, 2021."
Polis said in a statement on Twitter that this only applies to counties in Level Red.
"To save lives, maybe even your own, it is more important than ever that Coloradans not gather outside their household to celebrate the New Year, and to continue to take the basic steps to protect themselves and others, like wearing masks, only interacting with their own households, and staying 6ft apart from others when in public."
In reviewing the data, Colorado has been in a sustained decline for 13 days, and only 73% of ICU beds statewide are in use.— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) December 31, 2020
In light of this and based on the data, I'm asking @CDPHE to move counties in Red on the dial to Orange, effective Monday, January 4, 2021. pic.twitter.com/asiAGRHjTO
El Paso County health officials confirmed on Facebook Thursday morning that the county would be moving to Level Orange on Monday.
"While this new classification does bring looser restrictions, it’s imperative to remain vigilant in practicing prevention measures as we ring in the new year," El Paso County Health posted. "Celebrate safely by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, celebrating the new year with people who live in your household, avoiding large crowds and staying home when you’re sick."
El Paso County will be moving to Level Orange, High Risk on Monday, January 4, 2021. El Paso County has seen encouraging downward trends, which is a testament to El Paso County residents' efforts to practice prevention measures and help lower our numbers. https://t.co/PBIg8gkpFK https://t.co/aoLf20RLGR— Public Health (@EPCPublicHealth) December 31, 2020
Pueblo County is also moving to Level Orange Monday, which Mayor Nick Gradisar said he is "relieved" that this move will provide relief to businesses.\
"However true relief from the virus will only come when we reach herd immunity and large numbers of Puebloans are vaccinated. Puebloans must remain vigilant to wear their masks, limit social interactions, and get tested and isolate when symptomatic," he said in a release. "I am hopeful we can continue this momentum so can we increase capacity to even more of our economy over the coming months. Let’s keep this going Pueblo.”
One of the biggest changes Level Orange brings is indoor dining, which was closed in late November due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. According to the state health department, the following guidelines are set for dining in Level Orange:
- Restaurants may operate at 25% of the posted occupancy limit indoors not to exceed 50 people excluding staff, whichever is less, per room.
- For an indoor event at your establishment where patrons will not remained seated throughout the event, may allow up to 25 people within their usable space calculated using the Distancing Space Calculator per room, excluding staff.
- If there is an event being held at your establishment where everyone is remaining seated and food is being served, you may follow Appendix H:Restaurants, from the PHO 20-36 and keep 6 feet between parties.
Click here for more information on the breakdown of Level Orange guidelines.