After dial, masking requirements, COVID-19 restrictions vary by county

Counties surrounding Routt have gone in different directions, some creating their own local order and others letting restrictions lapse entirely.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With Colorado’s COVID-19 dial framework in mothballs, counties now have local control over what restrictions, if any, they are placing on their citizens.

This has created a patchwork of various restrictions from county to county; some choosing to keep the dial, others, like Routt County, choosing to devise their own version of the dial and still more that have let restrictions end completely.

“It’s, frankly, going to be very confusing moving from county to county with different restrictions,” said Roberta Smith, Routt County public health director, in a board of health meeting last week.

Everyone is still required to wear masks in schools, government buildings, jails, long-term care facilities and health care settings, per the state’s masking order. If case incidence is above 35 cases per 100,000 people in a county, masks are also required in all settings where there are at least 10 people of unknown vaccination status.

The baseline public health order still in place in Colorado requires masks in schools, government buildings, jails, long-term care facilities and health care settings. For counties with less than 35 cases per 100,000 people, colored green on this map, these are the only settings where masks are required. (Screenshot)

Colorado’s baseline public health order also has requirements for events, requiring masks and 6-foot social distancing for mass indoor gatherings with more than 100 people and at most 500 people. Outdoor, ticketed events, like concerts and sporting events, also require additional approval from state health officials.

Other than that, the rest is up to each county to decide, though the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will step in if local hospitalizations start nearing capacity.

Routt County and 10 others have devised their own local version of the dial, each with slight differences. In Routt County, there are three levels, with the current level of restrictions — level caution — requiring masks for all those older than 2, social distancing from non-household members and events open to the public with more than 500 people require approval from county public health officials. There are no capacity limits on businesses, but they are required to provide enough space for adequate social distancing.

To the west, Moffatt County has opted not to draft a local public order, instead sticking with the baseline state restrictions, the Craig Press reported Friday. There is just one active COVID-19 case in the county, so masks are only required in limited settings.

Almost half the state’s counties have gone with the same approach as Moffatt County, but most of the state’s residents are still required to follow some locally mandated COVID-19 restrictions. Rio Blanco and Jackson counties, which have each seen less than 10 cases of the virus in the last week, also opted to move forward without a local public health order.

Garfield County also has not drafted a public health order to replace the state’s dial, but the city of Glenwood Springs has extended its mask mandate through May 20. This extension no longer requires people to wear masks outside, just in indoor public-facing settings within city limits.

COVID-19 Restrictions in counties neighboring Routt County

Moffat, Rio Blanco and Jackson: Masks only required in schools, government buildings, jails, long-term care facilities and health care settings.

Garfield: No countywide order. Masking order in Glenwood Springs, and state masking order requires mask in settings with 10 or more unvaccinated people.

Eagle: Level yellow restrictions of 50% capacities in restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and other businesses. Events capped at 50%, and masks required in all indoor public settings.

Summit: Level yellow restrictions of 50% capacities in restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and other businesses. Indoor events limited to 25% capacity, and masks are required in all indoor, public settings.

Grand: Masks required in all public, indoor settings with 10 or more unvaccinated people. No capacity restrictions, but businesses must allow for proper social distancing.

With an incidence of 113 cases per 100,000, all of Garfield County is also under the stricter version of the state mask mandate.

Eagle and Summit counties have updated their public health orders to keep many of the level yellow restrictions from the state’s dial in place. This limits capacities to 50% in restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and retail settings.

Masks are required for indoor, public places, other than when seated at a restaurant, and Eagle and Summit plan to leave these orders in place until at least May 27, with the goal of moving to the lowest level green by then.

Grand County has approved a local public health order that essentially adopts the state baseline order with a few additions. In lieu of capacity restrictions, Grand County requires businesses to maintain proper social distancing between guests.

Case incidence would dictate the higher version of the state’s mask order, and Grand County has incorporated this order into its new local order, which is currently set to expire at the end of June.

Elsewhere around the state, most Denver metro area and Front Range counties are enforcing restrictions from level blue on the state’s old dial, The Denver Post reported Friday. This largely doesn’t put capacities in place but requires enough room for social distancing.

Several other counties, generally more rural, have opted to stay with level green restrictions from the state’s dial, which is basically just masking requirements already outlined in the state masking order.

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