Gov. Polis calls for counties to be moved to less restrictive COVID-19 level

By: - December 31, 2020 2:59 pm

(Faith Miller/Colorado Newsline)

Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday evening that he asked the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to move counties in the state’s “red” level of COVID-19 restrictions to the less restrictive “orange” level.

The move would allow restaurants in current red-level counties to resume limited indoor dining, which is prohibited in the red level.

“Colorado has been in a sustained decline for 13 days, and only 73% of ICU beds statewide are in use,” Polis said in his announcement. “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.”

As of Thursday, 33 counties were in the red level. This included the entire Front Range and Weld, Pueblo, Clear Creek and Summit counties.

Colorado counties are assigned color-coded COVID-19 restriction levels, with red being the second-most restrictive. Thirty-three of the state’s 64 counties were under red-level restrictions as of Dec. 31, 2020. (screenshot from

Indoor dining under the orange level can occur at 25% capacity up to 50 people. Other differences between red and orange: Under the red level, no personal gatherings are considered safe, last call for alcohol on premises is 8 p.m., and gyms are limited to 10% capacity. Under the orange level, household gatherings are permitted up to 10 people from no more than two households, last call is 10 p.m., and gyms are limited to 25% capacity. Local authorities can enact their own more-restrictive rules.

Colorado first introduced a “dial” system for county-level of COVID restriction in September. It was meant to apply county-by-county. It consisted of five levels, with red, the most restrictive, equating to stay-at-home conditions. A county’s color designation was determined by the number of  COVID cases and the test positivity and hospitalization rates of the area.

In November, as Colorado was experiencing its worst of three COVID-19 spikes since the pandemic began, the state revised the dial to add a purple level, now the most restrictive, and altered the red level to be less restrictive. No counties are in the purple level.

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