DENVER — Colorado on Wednesday debuted its new COVID-19 dial, known as "Dial 3.0," which relaxes some restrictions and provides an easier path to less restrictions, depending on county COVID-19 case rates.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the new dial Friday and took feedback for several days before finalizing the changes Tuesday.
The CDPHE says that by mid-April, it will again make changes to “move to a more local model, allowing local public health agencies to assume more control over capacity restrictions that are currently determined by the dial.” It last changed the dial in early February.
Among the changes in the Dial 3.0 are:
· No more state limits on personal gathering sizes, but a request that people follow the CDC’s guidance to avoid large gatherings.
· Counties will be able to apply for the least restrictive phase, Level Green, if they have 35 or fewer COVID cases per 100,000 people. The metric had previously been 15 cases per 100,000 people.
· In Level Green, bars, gyms and indoor event spaces will be able to operate at 50% capacity of up to 500 people, whichever is fewer, but most other restrictions were removed.
· Counties at Level Blue will be allowed to open bars to 25% capacity of 75 people, whichever is fewer.
· Level Blue and Level Green outdoor event spaces will no longer have capacity restrictions, but counties can choose to implement them at the local level
· Retail, offices, and non-critical manufacturing locations in counties in Level Blue can operate up to 75% capacity, up from 50%.
· Level Blue 5-Star businesses can operate with up to 60% capacity if not exceeding 50 people above the caps for restaurants and indoor events, and 25 people above the cap for gyms.
“Coloradans have made significant sacrifices to reduce disease transmission, so it is time to update the dial to reflect this reality, plus the increasing number of people who are immunized,” said CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan.
As of Wednesday, 1,403,177 people in Colorado have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 884,143 people have been fully immunized.
Despite the changes, some business owners said they're already at capacity, given the requirement to maintain six feet between tables.
"I understand the safety behind it for our customers," said Devin Rombough, director of operations for Illegal Pete's. "However, a lot of folks have been getting vaccinated — I got vaccinated — and I think we’re getting to the point where I don’t think they should be as close as they used to be, but I think we can definitely take a look."