The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a list of 15 counties that will be moving to the red level of the state’s dial system used to determine levels of COVID-19 restrictions for individual counties.
At the same time, CDPHE eased some of the restrictions for counties in the red level and added a new level, purple — raising the degree of COVID-19 severity that would require residents to remain at home unless absolutely necessary.
— Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (@CDPHE) November 17, 2020
On Nov. 20, the following counties will be the first to move to the red level and add new restrictions — including a ban on all personal gatherings and indoor events. The new restrictions will be the most stringent rules any counties have seen since the spring, but still fall short of what CDPHE, until recently, said would be required for counties that moved to the red level.
• Clear Creek
• La Plata
For those counties moving to red, the following activities are prohibited:
• Personal gatherings of any size
• Indoor dining (takeout, delivery and outdoor dining are allowed)
• Indoor events (outdoor event venues are limited to 25% of normal capacity, or up to 75 people with 6 feet of space between household groups)
“Even for the outdoor dining, it really should just be your household going out,” Gov. Jared Polis said at a briefing Nov. 17 announcing the changes. “It could be on a date with your significant other. It could be with your family of four, your family of five — but not, you know, eight, 10 friends getting together from different households.”
Other restrictions in the red level include the following:
• Bars are closed, and last call for alcohol at restaurants with outdoor dining is 8 p.m.
• Offices must limit in-person capacity to 10% with remote work for all employees strongly encouraged.
• Gyms can stay open at 10% capacity with up to 10 people indoors. Up to 10 people can participate in outdoor sports games or practices.
• Personal services, such as salons, are allowed 25% capacity or up to 25 people in a building at once.
• Places of worship and non-essential manufacturing businesses are limited to 25% of normal capacity indoors, with a maximum of 50 people.
• Retail businesses can stay open at 50% capacity.
“It’s good to be healthy, it’s good to work out, but we don’t want that to be a social environment where the virus will spread,” Polis said of gyms, which under the former dial system guidelines would have been required to close in counties in the red level.
For counties in the red level, CDPHE recommends that preschool through 5th-grade classes continue in person. Middle and high schools are recommended to use online instruction or hybrid instruction (a combination of in-person and online classes). For colleges and universities, online instruction is recommended with limited in-person classes when necessary.
The new level, purple, is described as “extreme risk” and would include a stay-at-home order similar to those issued in March and April. No counties have been moved to the purple level, and it’s likely that counties in the red level will have at least two weeks to improve their metrics before CDPHE may move them to purple.
At all levels, people at risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19 — including those older than 65 and those with health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, chronic lung, heart or kidney disease, cancer, and immunocompromised status — are strongly recommended to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
The state created a chart that includes details on each level in the dial.