COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- After announcing a change to the state's COVID-19 dial system for guidelines, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says El Paso County is moving to Level Red guidelines this Friday.
Gov. Jared Polis announced the changes to the dial system last week. Under Level Red, restaurants have to close indoor dining, and many other businesses have to reduce capacities.
CDPHE says the move from Level Orange to Red is because of the high levels of COVID-19 transmission, positivity rate, and hospitalizations. As of Sunday, the two-week incidence rate was 1160.7.
The move takes effect at 5 p.m. Friday. El Paso County joins over a dozen other counties in Colorado who have been moved to Level Red restrictions because of COVID-19 transmission increases. No county has been moved to a Stay At Home order yet.
"The numbers are very problematic and they just keep going up," Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said.
Under Level Red guidelines, personal gatherings involving members from multiple households aren't allowed. Restaurants are limited to outdoor dining, gyms are limited to 10% capacity, bars are closed and last call at other establishments serving alcohol is set at 8 p.m., personal services are limited to 25% capacity, retail is limited to 50% capacity, places of worship are limited to 25% capacity, and outdoor events are limited to 25% capacity. Schools can remain open, but they're encouraged to go to hybrid or remote learning as appropriate.
Mayor Suthers said that he's concerned the restrictions aren't "well designed" turn the numbers around, and he fears that those who would normally eat at a restaurant will go against the public health orders and host informal gatherings instead.
"People have got to suck it up and do what they need to do in their own lives to turn this thing around," Suthers said.
The mayor said he hopes the state and federal government considers approving additional COVID-19 relief money for small businesses amid stricter guidelines.
It's not clear how long El Paso County will be in Level Red status for COVID-19 restrictions.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.