Here’s what it would mean if Summit County moves into level green or blue restrictions
The county hit level green metrics Tuesday, meaning restrictions could be loosened early next week
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest incidence rate data as of 4 p.m. Friday.
Early this week, Summit County officially hit level green metrics with an incidence rate of 100 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents. If the county’s incidence rate remains below that threshold, it would move into level green restrictions Wednesday, May 5.
The new public health order maintains that the county can move into level green metrics if the area reaches an incidence rate of zero to 100 cases for seven days or if the county gets 70% of its population vaccinated. As of Friday, April 30, the incidence rate is 74.2 cases per 100,000 people.
During a Board of Health meeting Thursday, April 29, Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the numbers look promising, especially because the county could move from level yellow restrictions to level green, skipping over blue.
“It’s possible we could skip level blue altogether,” Wineland said at the meeting. “And I do think that’s important for everyone to understand that it is a possibility. Because if we have that low number of case numbers, we definitely feel comfortable moving to that level green with less capacity limits. It’s very exciting news.”
If the county were to move into level green, most restrictions would be lifted and businesses could operate at 100% capacity without the 6-foot distancing rule, but a mask order might continue.
For indoor gatherings of more than 100 but fewer than 500 people, venues can operate at 100% capacity. In these instances, the 6-foot physical distancing measure remains only between unvaccinated people or when vaccination status is unknown.
For gatherings of more than 500 people, including proms and graduation ceremonies, venues should reach out to the county for guidance and must have the event approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
These requirements do not apply to places of worship and associated ceremonies, retail services or restaurants that do not have unseated areas where 100 or more people could gather, such as dance floors.
Personal gatherings should follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has said fully vaccinated people can gather without masks.
If the county’s incidence rate exceeds 100 before Wednesday — but remains below 250 — then it could move from level yellow into level blue restrictions once 60% of residents are fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 54.6% of residents have been fully vaccinated.
Level blue would continue to require that masks be worn in indoor public spaces. Masks would only be required outside when within 6 feet of other people for more than 15 minutes. The 6-foot physical distancing rule would remain in effect.
Restaurants could operate at 100% capacity with 6 feet of distancing between parties indoors and 3 feet outdoors. Gyms and fitness areas could also operate at 100% capacity with 6 feet of distancing.
Most other industries — like retail, offices, personal services and transportation — could operate at 75% capacity, with some limitations.
For more information on level blue metrics, read the county’s public health order at SummitCountyCo.gov.
Whether the county moves into level green or blue, it will not move backward into a more restrictive level unless hospitalizations surge.
Though the news is promising, many local businesses are struggling to staff up and are worried about serving customers if capacity restrictions are loosened. In fact, some businesses, like the Dillon Dam Brewery, might continue to operate at limited capacities until they can find enough employees to operate as normal.
“If they said tomorrow, ‘You can open at 100% capacity, no distancing between tables; go ahead and get back to pre-COVID operations,’ we couldn’t do it,” Dillon Dam Brewery General Manager Kim Nix said last week. “There’s no way. Absolutely no way. I don’t have enough managers. I don’t have enough servers. I don’t have enough bartenders.”
At Thursday’s Board of Health meeting, Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine acknowledged the workforce issue.
“I think the more concerning trend that we’re seeing is usually at this time of year, we have an increase in applications for all of our economic security programs, and instead we’re seeing a continued decline in those applications,” Vaine said. “So we feel like it just fits what we’ve been hearing from folks about a lot of people have had to leave the community.”
Level green: Incidence rate of zero to 100 cases per 100,000 residents or 70% fully vaccinated
Level blue: Incidence rate of 101 to 250 cases per 100,000 residents and 60% fully vaccinated
Level yellow: Incidence rate of 251 to 500 cases per 100,000 residents and 50% vaccinated with at least one dose
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