Routt County moved to level orange by Gov. Polis
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt and all other counties that were in level red in Colorado have been moved to level orange by state health officials at the direction of Gov. Jared Polis, citing a 13-day downward trend in cases and businesses struggling to survive with red restrictions.
“The governor has announced that he is directing (the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) to move all counties that are currently in the red level on Colorado’s COVID-19 dial to the orange level,” Jill Ryan, director of the state health agency, said in an email to Routt County.
Routt County had already been allowed to use orange plus restrictions and received more variances from red restrictions last week when the state approved its new mitigation plan.
These moves allowed restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and indoor pools to be open at 25% capacity, the same restriction allowed in level orange. The move to level orange expands capacity limits for offices and nonessential manufacturing to 25%, as well as allowing limited personal gatherings between 10 people of no more than two households.
In a post on Facebook on Thursday, Polis announced he was asking state health officials to move all counties in level red to level orange.
“Colorado has been in a sustained decline for 13 days, and only 73% of ICU beds statewide are in use,” Polis wrote in the Dec. 30 post. “This is a direct result of Coloradans stepping up and taking the steps to protect themselves and others.”
The move comes after a holiday season that health officials have warned could lead to a surge in cases. At last week’s public health meeting, Routt County epidemiologist Nicole Harty warned cases may not continue to decline, citing what she has learned through contact tracing cases.
“I don’t know if they are going to continue to go down. We’ll have to see how this all comes together,” Harty said at the meeting.
There have been 107 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks in the county, the lowest case count since early November. But, health officials have repeatedly said it will take time to realize the impact of the holidays on cases locally.
Under the new restrictions, offices can have 25% capacity but are strongly encouraged to remain remote if possible. Indoor unseated events can have 25% capacity or 50 people and outdoor unseated events can have 25% capacity or 75 people.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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