Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest incidence data starting at 6 p.m. 16 Friday.
Earlier this week, Summit County officially hit green metrics with an incidence of 100 or fewer new cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants. If the county’s incidence rate remains below this threshold, it will move in line with green restrictions on Wednesday, May 5th.
The new public health order maintains that the county can move into level green measurements if the area reaches a prevalence of zero to 100 cases in seven days, or if the county gets 70% of the population vaccinated. As of Friday, April 30, the incidence is 74.2 cases per. 100,000 people.
During a health committee meeting on Thursday, April 29, Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the numbers look promising, especially because the county could move from level yellow restrictions to level green, skipping blue.
“It is possible that we could skip level blue completely,” Wineland said at the meeting. “And I think it’s important for everyone to understand that it’s an opportunity. Because if we have the low number of case numbers, we definitely feel comfortable moving to the level of green with smaller capacity limits. This is very exciting news. ”
If the county were to move in level green, most restrictions would be lifted and businesses could operate at 100% capacity without the 6-foot distance rule, but a mask order could continue.
For indoor gatherings of more than 100 but less than 500 people, venues can operate with 100% capacity. In these cases, the 6-foot physical distance measure remains only between unvaccinated people or when vaccination status is unknown.
For gatherings of more than 500 people, including child care and graduation ceremonies, venues must reach out to the county for guidance and must have the event approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
These requirements do not apply to places of worship and associated ceremonies, retail services or restaurants that do not have seating areas where 100 or more people could gather, such as dance floors.
Personal gatherings must follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which has said that fully vaccinated people can gather without masks.
If the county’s incidence exceeds 100 by Wednesday – but remains below 250 – it could move from level yellow to level blue restrictions when 60% of residents are fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 54.6% of residents have been fully vaccinated.
Level blue will continue to require masks to be worn in indoor public spaces. Masks are only required outside when they are within 6 feet of other people for more than 15 minutes. The 6-foot physical distance rule will remain in effect.
Restaurants could operate at 100% capacity with a distance of 6 feet between the parties indoors and 3 feet outdoors. Fitness centers and fitness areas could also operate at 100% capacity with a distance of 6 feet.
Most other industries – such as retail, offices, personal services and transportation – could operate at 75% capacity with some restrictions.
For more information on level blue measurements, read the county’s public health order at SummitCountyCo.gov.
Whether the county moves to the green or blue level, it does not move back to a more restrictive level unless admissions increase.
Although the news is promising, many local businesses are struggling to staff and are worried about serving customers whose capacity restrictions are loosened. In fact, some companies, like Dillon Dam Brewery, may continue to operate with limited capacity until they can find enough employees to function normally.
If they said tomorrow, ‘You can open with 100% capacity, with no distance between the tables; go ahead and go back to pre-COVID operations, ‘we could not do that,’ said Dillon Dam Brewery General Manager Kim Nix last week. “There is no way. Absolutely no way. I do not have enough managers. I do not have enough servers. I do not have enough bartenders.”
At Thursday’s Board of Health meeting, Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine acknowledged the labor issue.
“I think that the more regarding the trend we see is usually at this time of year, we have an increase in the number of applications for all our financial security programs, and instead we see a continued decline in these applications, Said Vaine. “So we feel it just fits what we’ve heard from people that a lot of people have had to leave society.”