By Friday, Covid-19 restrictions could begin to look a lot different for many in Southern Colorado, but not necessarily Pueblo County.
Despite a rising number of cases and hospitalizations across the state, Governor Jared Polis confirmed on Tuesday that the state's infamous color-coded Covid-19 dial will dissolve on April 16, and the statewide restrictions it imposed will now be decided by city and county governments instead.
Those restrictions involve capacity rules, spacing requirements, and even closing times.
CDPHE Executive Eirector Jill Ryan said Tuesday that she hopes those restrictions don't suddenly disappear, saying, "We are strongly recommending that local governments keep social distancing and mask orders in place."
It appears that will be the case in Pueblo County.
Hours after the briefing from state officials, the county's Board of Health approved an order that essentially keeps the same dial system in place locally, but with two exceptions.
First, 5-star certified businesses, which have proven to go above and beyond to keep customers safe, will not have to keep customers 6 feet apart.
Second, outdoor events can have up to 500 people without special approval.
Pueblo County Attorney Cynthia Mitchell told board members that they didn't have a lot of time to come up with an entirely new set of restrictions and triggers.
"Because everybody is so familiar now with the Covid dial, we didn't want to re-invent the wheel, but we thought the best approach on such short notice would be to adopt the state's dial and then adjust it and modify it as we see fit to meet the county's needs," she explained.
The plan for Pueblo County appears to be quite different from the one in El Paso County.
Although an official order hasn't been adopted yet, both Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and county commissioners have made it clear to KRDO that as long as the number of people dying or being hospitalized remains low, businesses will be able to decide their own rules.
To be clear, this handoff to local governments does not involve the mask requirement, which has always been separate from the Covid dial.
The latest mask order from Governor Polis will expire May 2, although he expects high risk locations like schools, prisons, and health care facilities will still require them for a bit longer.
Pueblo County's order, unanimously approved Tuesday, will expire May 15.
At that time, the Board of Health will decide which, if any, restrictions need to remain in place.