DENVER — A Denver public health measure encouraging people to be home by 10 p.m. is now in effect.
The measure is the latest effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and avoid another stay-at-home order, Denver officials said.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) Executive Director Bob McDonald announced the new order, called “Home by 10,” from the DDPHE at a news conference last week. The measure will stay in place from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. daily, for a month.
Hancock said the state has seen a rapid and significant increase in people becoming sick, with many ending up in the hospital. Hospitalizations increased over 40% in just the past week across the state, he said.
According to the order:
- Public and private gatherings of people who are not members of a single household is prohibited
- Residents who live alone may gather with members of their immediate family in compliance with the restrictions
- The prohibition will be temporarily suspended on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 for the Thanksgiving holiday
Bars may only allow on-premises consumption of alcohol via seated table service and must provide food from a licensed retail food establishment. They may also offer alcoholic beverages through delivery service, window service, walk up or drive through service before 10 p.m.
Bars must also keep groups seated together, and ensure that groups do not mix or mingle with other groups. Groups are limited to six people from no more than two households.
Many bar owners said they are concerned about another hit to their bottom line.
"We're a family-oriented bar with a lot of family members working here," said John Nallen of Nallen's Irish Pub on Market Street. "It's hard to pay the bills right now."
Nallen said it would be great if the public health order puts a damper on COVID-19, but he can't help but wonder how long it will go on.
"The mayor and governor, they're trying to do the right thing," he said. "I could sit here and be mad and annoyed about how business is less than 50% of what it was, but we have to get back to where we can, and hopefully open for real. Then maybe one day, we can get back to where we where, but business is tough. It's just survival right now."
Denver residents are split over the order.
"I understand that we are dealing with a pandemic right now and if that is how we get over it, then I will personally follow the order," said resident Scott Hennelly.
"I really disagree with it because it seems like (Mayor Hancock and Public Health Administrator Robert McDonald) are putting a time limit on when you can come and eat," said resident Michael Turner. "It's more controlling."
Turner and his wife, Tiffany, said they'd rather see people just continue wearing masks, and be tested outside bars and restaurants, like they are before entering a hospital.
"I would say just continue to wash your hands and do what you think is right for you and your family, and support the businesses that you can," Turner said.
Officials said that public health department workers will be the enforcers of the measure, along with officials from the Department of Public Safety. People who violate the new order could face a fine of up to $999 or 300 days in jail.
The curfew will not apply to hospitals, grocery stores and some other essential businesses but will apply to restaurants and retailers. It also does not apply to employees returning home from work, or people out exercising or walking their pets after 10 p.m.
The public health measure involves other actions as well, including:
- Prohibits spectators at high school and college athletic events
- Halts recreational athletic events
- For 30 days, will close bars that are not able to meet basic criteria around mingling and food service
Nallen told Denver7 he is from Ireland, which is in the midst of a nationwide lock down.
"They've been shut down forever and now it's shut down again," he said. "At least we're open."
The "Home by 10" order is expected to be lifted at 5 a.m. on Dec. 7.