State may allow restricted-capacity reopening of all businesses later this week

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis said Monday the state will relax some rules against in-person gatherings later this week, which will allow limited re-openings of every type of business.

Gov. Jared Polis speaks on his plans for a greener Colorado at the Net Zero Cities event in Loveland on March 5. Ali C. M. Watkins/BizWest

Under the “Protect Our Neighbors” rules, a local or regional public health authority can allow all activities to resume at a maximum of 50% capacity, or up to 100 people inside and 500 people outside at their discretion, as long as people can remain six feet apart. Mass gatherings of more than 500 would remain prohibited.

In particular, bars that don’t serve food could reopen at 25% capacity, while overnight summer camps could allow up to 10 children indoors and 25 children outdoors.

A community must meet established thresholds of low COVID transmission and have local testing and health-care capacity to handle future outbreaks. The draft doesn’t specify the exact thresholds needed to get the additional rule changes, saying they are yet to be determined by state experts.

However, Polis urged for continued caution against activities that would cause more transmission of COVID, noting that neighboring states such as Utah and Arizona are seeing major spikes as of late.

“We are only just a few steps ahead of this virus here,” he said.

Polis’ administration is taking public comment and plans to release final guidelines by the end of the week. He said the state should move into the new phase by June 18.