GOLDEN, Colo. — With the state handing COVID-19 authority over to local governments this week, Jefferson County Public Health on Tuesday issued a public health order that will move the county toward a full reopening, beginning Friday.
From Friday to May 15, the county will operate under "Level Blue" capacity levels, and there won't be changes to that status for that 30-day period.
Level Blue allows for 100% capacity at restaurants (with social distancing still enforced) and gyms and 50%, or 500 people, for indoor events. Last call for alcohol is 2 a.m. under Level Blue, and all grade levels in schools would be in-person.
Starting May 16, Jefferson County plans to move to a new dial level known as "Level Clear," which has no COVID-19 restrictions. The one protocol that could still apply would be an indoor mask requirement. The phase from May 16-August 15 would be an observation period in which Jefferson County monitors hospitalizations more so than case and positivity rates.
“We have been working very closely with other local public health leaders in the Denver Metro Area, which encompasses about 60% of the state’s population, as well as county leaders for the past several weeks to determine how to best move forward,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, executive director of JCPH. “We are confident this brief phased approach will allow our community to work to get our recent increase in COVID-19 transmission back under control, while we race to quickly vaccinate as many people as we can and prevent another surge driven by more-contagious variants. At the same time, our local businesses can better plan for the near future.”
The Jefferson County plan is similar to a plan being put in place by the Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. Those counties will also move to Level Blue, before making the change to Level Clear in May.
Boulder County will also likely move to Level Blue on Friday, if case rates there do no exceed 300 per 100,000 people and positivity rates stay below 7.5%. Boulder's current case rate is 150.4 per 100,000 people and the positivity rate is 5%.