COLORADO SPRINGS — With so much information being announced daily about the COVID-19 pandemic, here is a review and preview of what is going on in southern Colorado as it pertains to the virus:
For bars, less than two weeks after they were allowed to resume in person service, the governor issued another executive order that bans that practice again for 30 days. Although bars that also serve food can continue to provide take-out alcohol, there is no change for restaurants that serve alcohol.
Part of the reason Gov. Jared Polis decided to order the closures, he said, was the resurgence of the virus in neighboring states. Arizona and Texas has seen a surge in cases lately and governors in those states have attributed the spike to nightlife and have ordered the closing of bars and nightclubs.
Another variance was approved in El Paso and Fremont counties to expand indoor and outdoor service. For large and small gatherings, 50 people can be indoors and 250 can be outdoors, or 50% of capacity whichever number is fewer.
One of El Paso County's variance request was rejected by the state. That was to allow 75% capacity for shuttle bus services. The state will only allow 50% capacity at this time. Fremont County's variance also allows the expansion for libraries, weddings, graduations and funerals.
Proclaiming a downward trend in statewide COVID-19 numbers, Gov. Jared Polis announced that more virus-related restrictions will be eased under what he calls the "protect your neighbor" phase of reopening Colorado.
Communities must qualify to enter this phase by demonstrating that they are reducing the spread of the virus and are effectively responding to outbreaks and contact tracking. The governor says we will remain in the "protect your neighbors" phase until a vaccine is available.
President Donald Trump has signed into law a temporary extension of a subsidy program for small businesses battered by the coronavirus.
The legislation extends the June 30 deadline for applying for the program to Aug. 8. Lawmakers created the program in March and have modified it twice since, adding money on one occasion and more recently permitting more flexible use of the funding despite some grumbling among GOP conservatives.
This week, as we work to rebound here in southern Colorado, we're taking you back to the Hatch Cover. It's a popular bar and grill in Colorado Springs that is back open for dine-in services after weeks of being shut down.
Elizabeth Watts introduced them to you during the shutdown and went back for a progress report. We'll bring you an update on how business is now coming up on Thursday.
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