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The City of Pueblo announced on Thursday morning that a city-wide curfew will be put in place that prohibits all non-essential activities from 10 PM to 5 AM, including going to restaurants, bars, and social gatherings in public areas. Critical and essential activities, such as traveling to work, will be allowed. The curfew is set to last for two weeks, starting on Friday.

A rising number of COVID-19 cases was cited as the reason for this change. The county’s current two-week cumulative incidence rate is 368 cases per 100,000 residents, which falls above the State-recommended ‘Stay-at-home’ order threshold. This compares to 66 cases per 100,000 residents on October 1.

“COVID-19 is growing exponentially in the City of Pueblo, and in the State of Colorado,” said Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar. “We must re-double our efforts to slow the spread of the virus. We must do everything we can to keep our schools open, and to keep our businesses open.”

The mayor then stated that COVID-19 positivity rates in Pueblo County have quadrupled in October. He also stated that COVID-19-related hospitalization rates at the local Parkview Medical Center have tripled.

The mayor then stated that if numbers remain consistent, the county may move to ‘stay-at-home’ level restrictions. The recommended threshold for this is a two-week cumulative incidence rate of 350 cases or more per 100,000 residents. The mayor continued to mention that a full ‘stay-at-home’ order is possible if numbers do not decrease by the end of the curfew period on November 13.

Enforcement efforts are also set to be ramped up in Pueblo.

Violators of the curfew will be cited with a class one municipal offense with a possible $1,000 fine and jail for up to a year. Enforcement of COVID-19-related rules at local businesses will also be more prevalent.

“Pueblo, this is a fight for our lives and our livelihood. I’m calling on your to do your part,” said the mayor. “I’m asking you to do this for our businesses and schools.”

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked in Colorado in recent days and weeks, a silver-lining can be found in the drop of mortality rate among hospitalized patients – from 15.3 percent in March to 4.1 percent in October.

This content was originally published here.