From Denver At-Large City Councilwoman Robin Kniech:
A couple weeks ago, I sent an email detailing new public health orders that were announced in response to Denver’s concerning trends of rising COVID-19 average daily case rates, hospitalization rates, and testing positivity rates. Unfortunately, those updated public health orders were not enough to improve those concerning trends. Currently, Denver has a positivity rate of over 7%, considerably higher the 5% threshold the World Health Organization recommends avoiding. While hospital capacity is not currently threatened, remaining on this trajectory could eventually overwhelm our medical systems in the coming months. Because of this, the state downgraded Denver’s re-opening status to “Safer At Home Level 3.” Level 3 is the last classification before we are back to the Stay At Home level we experienced in March. See more details below on Level 3 restrictions.
Since our last email the state has also issued a new gathering restriction that was slightly different than Denver’s. We know it is confusing if state and city orders are different, which is why the city updated its order on social gatherings to align with the state. Smaller gatherings are always safer, but the city law now matches the state law: no more than 10 people from no more than two different households are allowed to gather — and masks must be worn when mixing households, even if you are outdoors. This will be the hardest requirement for the government to enforce, but many positive cases have been traced to these gatherings, so your compliance matters — for your loved ones. For our community’s health. And for the economic devastation of a Stay at Home Order.
New Level 3 restrictions include:
- Restaurants may operate at 25% of the posted occupancy-limit indoors not to exceed 50 people excluding staff, whichever is less, per room. This is down from 50% capacity.
- Last call has been moved from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Places of worship and life rites may operate at 25% capacity or 50 people.
- Non-critical manufacturing and offices drop from 50% to 25% capacity.
- Retail drops from 50% to 25% capacity.
- Personal services move to 25% from 50% capacity.
- Indoor events may operate at 50% capacity or 25 people, whichever is fewer.
Unfortunately, if these restrictions do not help foster the type of behavior change necessary to get this wave of COVID-19 under control, we will have to move back to the Stay At Home phase.
I have advocated for many months for fixed, predictable testing sites that also help improve testing among racial and ethnic groups experiencing disparate rates of COVID (the Pepsi Center was predictable, but it failed to reach these groups equitably). The good news is that Paco Sanchez Park and Montbello sites have been opened for testing over the last month and are seeing higher rates of testing among Black/African American and Latino/a residents. The bad news is that these sites are not yet open 7 days a week, and there are still some access gaps for other parts of the city. I’ll continue to advocate for 7 day a week testing at these or similar locations in areas with high disparities. I ask you to get tested if you’ve been exposed or have symptoms.
- Click here to see how Colorado is doing fighting the virus
- Click here for a Denver dashboard.
- Visit Denver’s testing web page for updated info about community-based sites and hours.
- For more information and to read the latest update to Denver’s public health orders, visit www.denvergov.org/covid19.
Councilwoman Robin Kniech