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Counties under local orders and statewide orders must comply with the strictest requirements of both. All individuals, employers and employees are required to comply with the requirements of Statewide Public Health Order 20-38. TCHD’s order allowed Counties to opt-out of its requirements.
While case rates and hospitalizations in the metro Denver region are down from the peaks of November and December 2020, they have risen over the past several weeks as Colorado is in its 4th Wave, with another complicating factor being spread of more transmissible variant strains of the virus across the state. Modeling data from the Colorado School of Public Health suggest that delaying policy changes that loosen restrictions until mid-May will prevent a substantial number of additional hospitalizations and deaths.
This phased approach will also allow counties and the region more time to increase vaccination levels and work towards herd immunity. As of April 7, 2021, it is estimated that about 30% of Coloradan’s are immune to COVID-19. Public health experts estimate that 70-85% of the population needs to be vaccinated to stop the ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
TCHD’s Order is more protective in that it restricts all activities to Level Blue capacity limits between April 16, 2021 and May 15, 2021 and requires compliance with a limited set of Mitigation Requirements for All Sectors, including 6 feet distancing in Levels Blue through Purple.
Capacity restrictions and Mitigation Requirements for All Sectors are required in Levels Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red, and Purple. Mitigation requirements have been simplified to ensure consistency across industries and to limit requirements to only those that are most critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
In Level Clear, all local requirements are lifted. In all other Levels, businesses and individuals must comply with the new simplified mitigation requirements as outlined above. All industry specific requirements have been removed. Business will no longer need to:
Community spread still exists and not everyone has had the opportunity to get vaccinated. Businesses, event hosts, places of worship, local governments, and others are strongly urged to implement the science-based COVID-19 mitigation strategies appropriate for their space and activities whenever possible.
The new dial metric tracks newly admitted residents to any hospital, per day, per 100,000 residents. In Phase I, this metric is not used at all. Instead, counties will have a 30-day grace period in Level Blue.
In Phase II, beginning May 16, counties will be assigned to Level Clear – an observation period – where a county will only be moved out of Level Clear if they exceed two new hospital admissions, per day, per 100,000 residents, for seven consecutive days. The last date that our counties exceeded this level was 01/02/2021 for Adams County, 12/28/2020 for Arapahoe County, and 12/08/2020 for Douglas County.
Unlike hospital capacity, which is inherently regional, this metric is County-specific and only counts the number of County residents newly admitted to any hospital. Unlike incidence rate and percent positivity, this new metric accounts for the severity of cases as treatments improve and individuals are vaccinated.
Level Clear:New Normal
LEVEL ORANGE:HIGH RISK
LEVEL RED:SEVERE RISK
LEVEL PURPLE:EXTREME RISK
Metric – Hospital Admissions per 100,000 County Residents Over a 7-Day Period
2 - 3
3 - 4
4 - 5
>5 and Hospital Capacity is Threatened
All counties will be moved to Level Clear on Friday, May 16, regardless of their hospital admission rate metric. As soon as Phase II begins, this new hospital admission rate metric begins. A County needs to exceed the hospital admission rate metric for seven consecutive days before being moved to a more restrictive Level.
Data: Hospital Admission Rate
In Level Clear, there are no local restrictions on outdoor events. Under Level Blue, outdoor event capacity is only limited by the requirement to observe 6-foot distancing. See the capacity chart for more information. Except in Level Clear, all outdoor events must comply with the Mitigation Requirements for All Sectors, including 6-foot distancing.
In Level Blue, complete the form to request Public Health approval to host a mass gathering if:
Your local county or city permitting office may require COVID-19 plans and, under CDPHE’s Public Health Order 20-38, outdoor ticketed, seated event venues larger than 30,000 square feet require CDPHE approval, in consultation with the local public health agency. TCHD is available to provide technical assistance on event planning for events of any size. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Event organizers and venues should consult CDC’s guidance for large events and gatherings for more information on mitigation strategies to promote safety during those activities.
In Level Clear, there are no local restrictions on indoor events. See the capacity chart for more information. Except in Level Clear, all indoor events must comply with capacity limits and the mitigation requirements for all business sectors, including 6-foot distancing.
This Order does not require plan review or approval by TCHD for indoor events. However, your local county or city permitting office may require COVID-19 plans to operate and, under CDPHE’s Public Health Order 20-28:
TCHD is available to provide technical assistance on event planning by emailing email@example.com. Event venues, operators and hosts should limit the number of attendees at events and continue implementing mitigation strategies detailed in CDPHE event guidance and CDC Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings to the greatest extent practical.
Performers must only remain 6 feet away from spectators. Performers who engage in activities that involve increased forced exhalation such as singing, are highly encouraged to distance further than 6 feet from spectators.
Self-serve buffets are not prohibited under this order but food service providers are asked to remove self-serve whenever practical and follow CDC’s guidance for food service operators and CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility guidance. Self-serve buffet operators should require customers to use single-use gloves or require the use of hand sanitizer before and after touching shared utensils. Operators should also ensure customers and staff are able to maintain 6ft distancing at all times, especially while moving about the facility.
Sampling is not prohibited under this order.
While it is encouraged to symptom screen employees and customers, it is not required by the Order. Businesses must require employees and customers showing any symptoms or signs of sickness, or who have been in contact with people who have tested positive to stay home. Employers must ensure paid sick leave policies are consistent with state law and communicate those policies, in writing, to employees. See the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Paid Leave Under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion [En Español] and Colorado Workplace Public Health Rights Poster [En Español].
Consult CDC guidance for People with Certain Medical Conditions and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.
Each Five-Star Certification Program is operated by the individual county. Counties can continue their Five-Star Programs if they choose. Programs and businesses must continue following CDPHE’s Program framework, including all industry specific checklists, except that certified businesses are no longer required to symptom screen customers or take customers contact information.
Some counties may decide not to continue their program. See your county’s 5-Star Program webpage: