By Claire Ninde
San Juan Basin Public Health
Effective Saturday, Feb. 6, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will update the state’s COVID-19 Dial. The update does not change most capacities, spacing and ventilation requirements, or public health precautions at each level of the Dial, but it does change the boundaries between each level in terms of new cases (adjusted for county population), test positivity, and hospitalizations. The new dial also makes it more likely that counties will move levels in response to short-term trends and may result in counties moving back and forth between adjacent levels more regularly.
Based on internal data, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) expects that both Archuleta and La Plata counties will move into Level Blue: Cautious on the Dial as of Saturday. The major changes between the current Level Orange: High Risk and Level Blue are:
- Most establishments currently operating at 25% capacity will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity (six-foot spacing requirements still apply)
- Last call for on-premise alcohol sales will move from 10 p.m. to midnight
Based on internal data, both counties are very close to the boundary between Level Blue: Cautious and Level Yellow: Concern. While both counites will start in Level Blue: Cautious, outbreaks or increased transmission in establishments with higher occupancy would quickly move both counites to Level Yellow. For most establishments and smaller events, there will be minimal differences between those two levels. However, for larger special events, there are significant capacity differences between Levels Blue and Yellow (all with a maximum 50 percent capacity):
- Indoor events: up to 175 people at Level Blue, up to 100 people at Level Yellow
- Outdoor events: up to 250 people at Level Blue, up to 175 people at Level Yellow
Given the strong possibility that both counties could move between Level Yellow and Level Blue restrictions in response to small differences in the number of cases per day, SJBPH strongly recommends that event planners make plans based on Level Yellow guidance and restrictions for the near future. This will reduce the possibility that event organizers need to cancel tickets for attendees beyond the Level Yellow maximums should their county move from Blue to Yellow after tickets have been sold. Issuance of a special event permit, special liquor license or other governmental approvals does not allow events to operate in violation of the COVID-19 Dial.