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El Paso County health clarifies COVID-19 variance at risk

COVID-19 in El Paso County

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) - Health department officials are explaining what would happen if the state decides to revoke its COVID-19 variance, which grants permission from the state for larger gathers.

El Paso County is just one of more than a dozen counties in Colorado -- along with Chaffee and Custer counties -- given a warning by the state health department that it could "lose its variance" if the number of new COVID-19 cases didn't decrease within two weeks.

El Paso County reached the two-week mark from that warning on Monday -- reporting 45 cases per 100,000 people over the 100-case threshold.

El Paso County's most recent variance from the state increased the capacity for indoor restaurants and private venues to 175 people or 50% occupancy, whichever is fewer.

"It is our understanding that El Paso County is currently at risk of losing its variances, but is not at risk of action being taken that would be stricter than the current Public Health Order," county health officials explained in a statement to KRDO.

The current public health order for the entire state allows indoor venues to have up to 100 people per room with a distance of six feet between parties.

Therefore, the only businesses at risk of losing customers if El Paso County's variance is revoked are large venues consisting of one room that allows for more than 100 people with six feet of social distancing.

Local businesses tell us this new information brings a sigh of relief.

"That's great news for our industry. We've taken quite a beating lately. To be able to stay open is important for us," said Tim Payne, owner of The Mason Jar restaurant in Old Colorado City.

Payne told us his business is just starting to bounce back after the previous shutdown.

"We've watched our business increase, we've watched our local guests come back in, and we're also seeing a fair number of tourists now," he said.

Health officials do want to warn everyone that this whole situation is changing rapidly, and if cases continue to rise at consistently higher rates, the whole state could eventually regress all the way back to a stay at home order.

For that reason, the nerves local business owners grapple with aren't going anywhere.

“Of course we're concerned about another shutdown," said Payne.

Health / Health / Health News / Local News / News

Julia Donovan

Julia is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Julia here.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. can we just hurry up and get Biden in, institute full socialism, and give up our freedoms entirely instead of this yo-yo trip of ‘you get your freedom back, oh! just kidding! Here’s a little, oh! We gotta take it back again! You know: the virus and death and fear and stuff!’

  2. Get practically anybody else in the White House !! It would be better than know it all, Donald Gump !! This situation of cutting back on the variances, is NOBODY FAULT, BUT YOUR OWN !! The blame lays on the actions of the people in El Paso County. We were warned time & time again,but behaviors didn’t change !! SO DON’T START BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE !! A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED TO LOOK NO FURTHER THAN THE MIRROR, BEFORE PLAYING THE BLAME GAME !!😷😷

    1. Not one raindrop is to blame for the flood.
      Or…..
      We’ve been bad and nasty boys and girls, punish us Mr. Polis with your infinite wisdom!
      This crap is getting old, the crazies are coming out when they see a face in public. Like we’re some sort of mask cult now….

  3. So all locations in El Paso county can be at 50% capacity or no more than 175 people. Now change one word from business to school and all these restrictions go out the window and we will allow 100’s if not over a 1000 in one location for periods of up to 8 hours 5 days a week.

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