The Denver Post

Restaurant­s, offices can operate at 100%; Denver likely to join Most area curbs lift Sunday

- By Jessica Seaman

Much of metro Denver will see all remaining county-level COVID-19 public health restrictio­ns lifted this weekend, although people still will be required to wear masks in specific indoor settings as the statewide order remains in place at least until next month.

Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder and Broomfield counties confirmed Tuesday they will move from Level Blue to a new phase called Level Clear on Sunday.

Denver’s public health agency stopped short of committing to the move to Level Clear, but said the city anticipate­s “aligning” with neighborin­g counties.

Once the metro counties move to Level Clear, restaurant­s, bars, offices and other indoor settings can operate at 100% capacity with no additional requiremen­ts,

according to the Tri-County Health Department’s public health order.

At Level Blue, restaurant­s and gyms can offer full capacity only if 6 feet of social distancing is possible, while bars only can operate at 25% capacity, and retail and office spaces are limited to 75% capacity.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environmen­t “is working with regional and state partners to evaluate the potential restrictio­ns after the expiration­s of our current public health order,” spokespers­on Clarissa Boggs-Blake said in an email Tuesday. “We anticipate aligning with other neighborin­g jurisdicti­ons as well as adopting by reference any remaining state public health order requiremen­ts.”

Colorado handed control of most COVID-19 public health measures to local authoritie­s last month with the expiration of the state’s color-coded restrictio­n dial.

Many counties opted not to impose further local restrictio­ns at that point, but most in the metro area chose to remain at Level Blue for another month.

Douglas County was the exception, opting out of plans by the Tri-County Health Department — which also serves Adams and Arapahoe counties — to stay at Level Blue through Saturday.

The counties moving to Level Clear on Sunday will enter an “observatio­n period” for 90 days.

If a county experience­s a rise in its rate of coronaviru­s hospital admissions, it will move to stricter restrictio­ns, according to the Tri-County and Jefferson County health department orders.

The state still requires masks in schools, child care centers, indoor children’s camps, prisons and health care settings. However, masks are no longer required in indoor gatherings where at least 80% of the group is inoculated against the coronaviru­s.

Additional­ly, the state health department mandates 6 feet of distancing at indoor events with more than 100 people and requires plans to be submitted for outdoor, ticketed, seated events at locations larger than 30,000 square feet. The state also requires a review of indoor events with more than 500 people.

“The state’s order expires on May 15, so we expect updates from the state regarding what restrictio­ns they plan to continue before the end of the week,” Gary Sky, spokesman for the TriCounty Health Department, said in an email.

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