Colorado next week will once again loosen its coronavirus dial system by making it easier for counties to relax restrictions on businesses, office space and restaurants and by allowing bars to reopen across the majority of the state.
The changes were announced Friday night by the Colorado Department of Public Heath and Environment, which is seeking comments on the alterations through midday Monday. The new dial system goes into effect on Wednesday.
The “Dial 3.0” comes as an increasing number of Coloradans are receiving doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Nearly 80% of people 70 and older has been fully vaccinated. The age bracket has made up 38% of the state’s coronavirus hospitalizations.
Among the biggest changes to the dial will be:
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- Counties will be able to move into level green, the most lenient level, if they have up to 35 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, up from 15 cases per 100,000 people.
- Counties will be able to move into level blue, the second most lenient level, if they have up to 100 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.
- Most restrictions in level green are removed, though bars, gyms, and indoor events must still adhere to a 50% capacity limit or a 500-person cap, whichever is fewer.
- Bars can now open under level blue — which most of the state is under — with a capacity limit of 25% or 75 people, whichever is fewer.
- Retail, offices and non-critical manufacturing in level-blue counties may now open to 75% capacity, up from 50%.
Outdoor event capacity limits will no longer be in effect for counties in levels green and blue.
Colorado is also removing its limit on personal gathering sizes, though CDPHE notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still strongly recommends avoiding larger gatherings and crowds to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The state is planning to open vaccinations up to the general public in mid0April. Friday marked the first day of vaccination phase 1b.4, which includes more than 2 million people.
“With more Coloradans receiving their vaccine, the state aims to offer greater flexibility,” the state Health Department said in a news release. “By mid-April, CDPHE intends to move to a more local model, allowing local public health agencies to assume more control over capacity restrictions that are currently determined by the dial.”
This is a developing story that will be updated.
This content was originally published here.