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Colorado unveils draft plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions for eligible businesses

covid dial colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is looking at a plan that would loosen COVID-19 restrictions for eligible businesses based on safety practices, and it could have an effect on hundreds of establishments in counties under Safer at Home: Level Red guidelines.

CDPHE's new plan, unveiled Friday, is just a draft at this point, but the agency is seeking public input on the program before December 4.

The certification program would allow businesses to open with an increased capacity if they meet a list of criteria for COVID-19 safety guidelines. It's based on Mesa County's Variance Protection Program, which has dozens of businesses certified to open with more capacity than what's recommended by Colorado's COVID-19 Dial Dashboard.

Essentially, this program would let approved businesses move down a level on the dial; for example: approved businesses in Level Orange counties would be able to operate at Level Yellow capacities, businesses in Level Yellow counties can operate at Level Blue capacities, and Level Blue counties can operate with an additional 35 people added to their cap.

An explanation of the dial guidelines can be found here.

One of the things that the state is looking at, however, is if this program can be effective in counties under Level Red guidelines, including El Paso and Pueblo counties and many counties in the Denver metroplex. That decision is expected to be made by December 4th based on public input and data from Mesa County's program. Mesa County currently has a variance to test out the program for 12 days while in Level Red.

Some of the guidelines to be eligible for the program include:

  • 100% mask-wearing among staff and customers "with strong compliance and enforcement protocols"
  • Daily symptom checks for all employees
  • Encouraging staff and guests to activate "Exposure Notifications"
  • Contact tracing

Restaurants would have to require reservations, and table spacing would have to be at least 10 feet apart for indoor dining.

The draft guidelines say that any business cited for noncompliance with a public health or der is ineligible to be certified. We asked CDPHE if previous outbreaks affect eligibility, and a spokesperson responded saying "the discussion draft doesn't specifically mention outbreaks, but we are soliciting feedback on the various elements that are or may need to be included."

Read the full plan by clicking this link. You can weigh in with your feedback on the plan by using this submission form before December 4.

Coronavirus / News / State & Regional News

Andrew McMillan

Andrew is the Digital Content Director for Learn more about Andrew here.



  1. I have an idea, just give the State and County health the middle finger. Band together and open at full capacity, it’s time to rebel against government overreach! The at risk and scared can stay home. The rest can go about life from a “labeled” pandemic with a 99.9% survival rate. And if you take out the elderly it’s like 99.999% survival!

    1. Our young are dying too – all their employers have shut down.
      Gramma and Granpa have their social security checks.
      Junior has a rent, a car payment, and meals to pay for; with no job.

    2. Agreed, the gubment is just playing games at this point and preying on the nieve. ‘If youre not scared you’re stupid! Shut up and wear your mask and dont question us!’
      Kinda funny no one is dying from anything else this year, not a single flu death i’m aware. ‘Man hit by car, dies of virus’, ‘man falls off ladder, died of virus’… Im not getting the vaccine cuz I dont need it for something that has a 99.9% survival rate. ‘But, but, but!!! People are dying!!!’ Yup, that happens, we’re not immortal. Fun fact: 100% of non-smokers die too…..

  2. Yet another change to the CDPHE rules. Yet again, this is exactly why no one takes these seriously, stop making exemptions and follow through. A Dog with no teeth is not a threat.

  3. It is very obvious that they still have no clue what is going on or how to deal with it.
    The survival rate is way up. I know a guy on oxygen and he has ARDS(Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) According to the “experts” he should be dead when he got COVID. He spent two days in the hospital without any major medical intervention and is back home. Survived.

    The “cure” is now far worse than the disease. People are losing their lively hoods and the politicians with full income security are making knee jerk reactions and restricting the rest of the population.
    Just look at other nations who never did a lock down and do not have a mask order. Same numbers and same curve. The disease has to run its course before we reach herd immunity and move on.
    The joke is watching high traffic “essential” businesses stay open and a low traffic restaurant has to close its door for dining. Costco had a major outbreak and hid it and they are still open. Never closed a day. What does that say?

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