Colorado releases amended public health order, opening bars and expanding capacity at large restaurants
KEYSTONE — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has amended its safer-at-home order for the seventh time, opening nearly all businesses including bars.
Summit County’s current public health order defers to the state’s guidance on all regulations. The county plans to fall in line with the state guidelines, Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said.
“We have seen good progress, our numbers are at the level where we want to them to be,” she said. “Of course we’d like to see no cases, but we’ve had very few additional cases.”
Businesses that are able to reopen in Summit County will be required to fill out a physical distancing protocol form. The county is also keeping its face-covering requirement for people who are in a building open to the public or outside where a 6-foot distance isn’t possible.
The state’s amended order, which went into effect Thursday and was released Friday, allows bars to open at 25% capacity or with up to 50 people at a time, whichever is fewer. Regulations for bars are very similar to the guidelines that have been used for restaurants since they opened May 27. There is a limit of eight people per group, and customers in different parties have to remain 6 feet apart.
The ability to open bars will be great for the county’s economy, Stiegelmeier said.
“Of course the concern there is, it’s all about socializing,” she said. “So hopefully we will have people socializing in safe ways.”
The state health department also released official guidance on indoor activities, outdoor activities and residential camps. The new guidance on indoor and outdoor activities allows for theaters and malls to open. It also gives the OK to trade shows, auctions, parades, festivals, receptions and fairs.
However, there are capacity limitations based on the size of each venue. Both outdoor and indoor venues can use the state’s social distancing space calculator to determine how many people are allowed at the venue. The maximum number of people for an outdoor venue is 175 while the maximum for an indoor venue is 100.
Under the new guidance for indoor venues, extra-large businesses and organizations (more than 7,200 square feet) that had already opened, like restaurants and houses of worship, are allowed to have up to 100 people at a time. Previously, all restaurants were allowed a maximum of 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever was fewer. Tables and groups at restaurants are still limited to eight people and groups must be 6 feet apart.
The order also requires employees at all venues to wear face coverings and be screened for symptoms at the start of their shifts.
Residential camps are allowed to open under the amended order, as well. Groups are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
The order continues to ban “establishments primarily based on smoking,” which includes cigar bars, hookah lounges and companies with cannabis social-use licenses. Casinos, amusement parks and arcades also remain closed, and bounce houses and ball pits are prohibited at any public or commercial venue.
The amended safer-at-home order is separate from the protect-our-neighbors phase of reopening, which Polis announced Monday along with the changes to the order. The new phase will open everything at 50% capacity or up to 500 people, whichever is fewer.
That phase is not yet finalized, and the state has released only a draft framework of what it will look like. The department expects the final framework to be released in late June or early July.
Once the state transitions to the protect-our-neighbors phase, it will be available only to counties that meet certain thresholds. The state health department will approve counties that can prove a commitment to contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, community testing and targeted public health orders.
The state has not yet established the specific criteria the counties will have to meet to move into the phase, so it’s difficult for Summit County officials to know when the county will be able to loosen its restrictions.
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