COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- El Paso County Commissioner Chairman Mark Waller says the county will move to Safer At Home Level 2 restrictions on Nov. 4 due to rising COVID-19 rates.
Under Safer at Home Level 2 guidelines, offices must move to 50% capacity, indoor events are capped at 100 people, outdoor events are capped at 175 people, retail stores must operate at 50% capacity, restaurants must operate at 50% capacity or 50 people (or 100 with calculator) with six feet between parties.
All schools can be in-person, hybrid, or remote as appropriate under Level 2.
Waller tells KRDO that Gov. Jared Polis' office made the decision to increase the coronavirus restriction level in El Paso County.
The move comes as El Paso County's two-week coronavirus incidence rate has climbed over 270 per 100,000. According to state guidelines, that number should put the county at Level 3 restrictions, however, the state made the decision to only bump the county up from Level 1 to Level 2.
Waller says the restrictions take effect on Nov. 4 so that it doesn't affect Election Day.
Starting in early October, the number of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County began to spike up, with two of the highest daily-count days since the pandemic started happening this month. County officials had said they were meeting with state health officials to discuss mitigation efforts, but Waller expressed displeasure with the lack of time given to come up with a new plan.
Waller also argues the restrictions on businesses likely won't make a difference, because -- according to scientists -- the spike is largely due to house parties where people aren't wearing a mask or social distancing.
"We want to have the opportunity and the ability to try to figure out where this is coming from so then we can take appropriate actions, because this shot in the dark kind of solution that we're using right now just isn't what we need moving forward," Commissioner Waller explained.
However, public health officials insist we need to make do with the restrictions we can implement, and encourage people to follow guidelines at home, too.
"It is the cumulative effect of all of our individual actions that will have the impact that we need," said Medical Director Dr. Robin Johnson.