Colorado restaurants can open at reduced capacity

Spring skiing and elective surgeries allowed now, day camps can open next week

On Tuesday, May 26, Gov. Polis discussed the new state guidelines around in-person dining at restaurants, day camps, and private campgrounds, as well as the decision-making process around implementing or loosening restrictions.

“Coloradans have done an incredible job of staying at home and taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their neighbors safe,” said Governor Jared Polis. “That’s why we are able to take the first steps toward reopening restaurants, giving more Coloradans the chance to return to work, and encouraging more Coloradans to enjoy our incredible outdoor spaces. We have come a long way since the beginning of this pandemic, but make no mistake, we still have a long way to go. We must remain diligent and continue staying home as much as possible and follow social distancing requirements, wearing a mask, and washing our hands when we leave the house.”

The Governor has previously outlined several criteria when making decisions about what can be reopened safely:

–What level of suppression of the virus has been achieved?

–What is the ability to do testing and containment?

–How well are vulnerable individuals, who are a significantly greater risk, being protected?

–Does the health care system have the capacity to handle a surge?

–What’s the level of risk vs. societal/economic/psychological reward?

–Is the policy sustainable?

Restaurants are allowed to re-open for in-person dining at 50% capacity. The restaurant industry has a significant impact on Colorado’s economy, employing almost 300,000 Coloradans, or 10% of the state workforce.

The state released key guidelines for restaurants to keep customers and staff safe, including:

–Limit the number of people that can be inside the establishment at a single time to 50% capacity.

–Parties will be limited to 8 or less and parties will be seated six feet away from each other; intermingling of parties will be prohibited.

–All employees must wear face coverings.

–All surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected between parties.

–Increase indoor ventilation by opening doors and windows and limiting air conditioning, which recycles the air inside the establishment.

–Work with local governments to suspend some rules to maximize outdoor service.

Summer day camps can reopen with strict precautions. Sleepaway camps will still be prohibited through June. There are a number of ways the state is mitigating risk to kids, employees, and parents:

–Employees must wear protective gear and adhere to hygienic and disinfecting practices.

–Campers must wear a mask whenever possible, and groups larger than 10 kids in a group indoors or 25 kids in a group outside are prohibited. The 10 or fewer indoors limit is consistent with current guidelines for child care programs.

–Campers will be subject to temperature checks to screen for symptoms of COVID-19.

The Governor also discussed the timeline for these decisions, as well as for future decisions:

–May 25 – Spring skiing allowed if permitted by host county, private campsites open

–May 27 – In-person dining can resume at 50% capacity

–June 1 – Children’s summer day camps can open

–After June 1 – Next steps for Safer at Home

In the beginning of this global pandemic, Colorado was seeing an exponential rise in cases where each person was spreading the virus to three or four other people. Gov. Polis announced today that, based on the data the state is seeing and modeling state epidemiologists are doing, each person with the virus is now spreading it to about one person or fewer.

The Governor is encouraging any Coloradan with symptoms to be tested for COVID-19. The state is now testing 4,000-5,000 people per day, and has the supplies to test 8,500 people per day.

Gov. Polis announced that the state has secured a 17-month contract with Honeywell for six million N95 masks to keep frontline health care workers safe.

Ski resorts can now work with local authorities to develop a plan on how to open as safely as possible, and secure local approval. Arapahoe Basin in Summit County will be reopening with strict precautions for distancing in lift lines, a mask requirement, no food or beverage service, and no tailgating. In addition, private campsites are not open, and state campgrounds have been open since May 12, 2020.

The Governor is hopeful the focus of the legislative session will be on building a resilient response, from a health perspective and an economic perspective, for Colorado in the face of the pandemic. The Governor also discussed the legislative session and reiterated the importance of lowering health care costs, supporting businesses and workers, improving air quality, and investing in public health. The Governor called on legislators to put the “Colorado Heroes Act” on the ballot next year, which would repeal the Gallagher amendment and freeze property tax assessment rates in this crisis.

Gov. Polis on Tuesday signed Executive Order D 2020 080, allowing voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to proceed under certain conditions.

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