Governor Polis hosted a press conference in which he detailed the next phase of COVID-19 reopening, Protect our Neighbors.
Protect our Neighbors is a local approach to reopening in which counties will apply for a variance based on their ability to meet certain metrics. Counties can apply on an individual basis or join an intergovernmental agreement with a neighboring county to offer a regional approach. Some metrics that will be considered are a sufficient amount of available hospital beds, access to PPE and testing, stable or declining hospitalizations, a stable or downward trend of new cases, an ability to implement contact tracing, and more. The thresholds for each of these metrics will vary based on the population within the county. In order to qualify for Protect our Neighbors, a county will need to meet the metric thresholds for its local population and submit a mitigation or containment plan that addresses what it will do if there is a surge in cases within its jurisdiction. The state will be allocating $75 million to local public health agencies to assist with meeting these requirements.
Starting next week, counties can begin submitting their applications to enter Protect our Neighbors. Once a county qualifies for this next phase, it will have the ability to enforce local control over its reopening guidelines. As we currently understand it, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 500 people and indoor activities will be limited to 50% of the posted capacity. These caps could be more or less restrictive depending on the COVID-19 data within the community. Governor Polis has indicated that the state will remain in the Protect our Neighbors phase until there is a vaccine or cure for COVID-19.
Read the full guidelines here, and the Governor's press release here.
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