State COVID-19 dial and the new Summit County dial
The State of Colorado COVID-19 dial expired on Friday, April 16, 2021, and subsequently, public health orders and restrictions largely transitioned to local control. Summit Public Health enacted a local COVID-19 dial and new public health orders on Friday, April 16, 2021 with different metrics and milestones, which include vaccination rates. This new dial now places Summit County in Level Yellow on this new local dial.
Please see below for more information on this new local dial and how it allows Summit County to gradually ease restrictions without jeopardizing falling case numbers; just yesterday Summit thankfully lost its place as the county with the highest number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in Colorado.
State and Summit County Mask Requirements
Governor Polis extended the State mask requirement until May 3, 2021. These new orders do make allowances for counties where case numbers and hospitalizations put them in level green (unfortunately Summit County is not there yet).
Therefore, Summit County’s new dial still requires masks for indoor public spaces, including public transportation, and for outdoor public spaces when folks are within 6ft. for 15+ minutes (defined as close contact). The outdoor mask requirement is slightly different because it now specifies that you only need to wear a mask outdoors if you plan on being within 6ft. of someone outdoors for more than 15 minutes; this means that if you are quickly passing folks on the sidewalk or on a trail you don’t need to worry about covering your nose and mouth with a face covering.
The face covering requirement will likely be one of the last requirements to go away because it is an effective and inexpensive way to stay healthy and keep businesses open.
What are the major changes in the new Summit County COVID-19 dial, which went into effect on Friday, April 16, 2021?
Personal group gatherings– The restriction limiting group gatherings to 10 people maximum from no more than two households has been eliminated, including for restaurants and lodging. Yet, this is not the greenlight to party like it is 2019. Don’t go to a gathering if you are sick and be conservative about how and with how many people you get together; especially if you have folks in the gathering who are unvaccinated. Summit Public Health suggests that you follow the guidance on gatherings from the Centers for Disease Control to keep you and your community healthy.
Collecting contact information– 5 Star businesses are no longer required to collect customer contact information. The Contact Tracing Team will continue to reach out to individuals directly when they have potentially have been exposed to the virus.
Physical distancing– Six (6) ft. distancing remains for indoor business activities in all business types, including restaurants, personal services, and personal fitness, but outdoor dining may now be allowed with only three (3) ft. of space between parties.
Updated metrics- there’s no going backwards unless hospitals surge
This new local Summit County COVID-19 dial is considerably less restrictive than the State dial and is tied to the metrics of hospitalization, incidence rate, and vaccination rates, which public health believes are more suitable indicators for Summit County. Yep- positivity rates are no longer a part of this local dial, but they will still be monitored. These new restrictions will be a one-way road to progress unless hospitalizations surge to 80% or more.
- Hospitalizations-There is no going backwards on the dial unless hospitalization rates surge to 80% occupancy locally. The State can also move a county backwards if regional hospitalizations reach 85%.
- Incidence per 100,000 rates remain a way to move forward and loosen restrictions, but on this new dial they will not result in more restrictions.
Vaccination levels are a new metric, and acknowledge that the personal choices made by residents to protect the themselves and the community matter. The goal is to get 70% of those residents 16 and older in Summit County vaccinated to get us to level green and greatly reduced restrictions, and this milestone recognizes that there is also likely 10% immunity in the community due to prior COVID-19 infections. Right now, 36.8% of Summit residents are fully vaccinated and 66% have received at least on dose; 70-90% total levels of immunity in a community are the target goals. This means we are very close to reaching level green.
What are the capacity limits in this new Level Yellow on the Summit County Dial?
- Retail 50% capacity
- Non-5 Star Restaurants- 50% capacity or 150 whichever is fewer, alcohol off the table by 10pm, and with 6 ft. of distancing between parties indoors and 3 ft. of distancing for outdoor seating
5 Star Restaurants- 100% capacity, alcohol off the table by 11pm, and with 6 ft. of distancing between parties indoors and 3 ft. of distancing for outdoor seating
- Bars that do not serve food will remain closed.
- Non-5 Star Gyms/Fitness- 50% or 50 whichever is fewer & 6 ft. of distance maintained between parties
5-Star Gyms/Fitness- 100% capacity & 6 ft. of distance maintained between parties
- Non- 5 Star Personal Services- 50% capacity or 50 , whichever is fewer & 6 ft. of distance maintained between parties
5 Star Personal Services- 50% capacity or 50 , whichever is fewer & 6 ft. of distance maintained between parties
- Outdoor Events may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 175 people, whichever is less, per area, excluding staff. If the event is seated, the event may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 175 people, whichever is less, per area, excluding staff.
- Non-5 Star Indoor Events may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 50 people, whichever is less, per room, excluding staff, or up to 150 people using the Distancing Space Calculator. If the event is seated, the event may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 50 people, whichever is less, per room, excluding staff; must maintain 6 ft. spacing between groups
5-Star Indoor Events- may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 225 people, whichever is less, per room, excluding staff. If the event is seated, the event may be conducted at 50% of the posted occupancy limit, not to exceed 175 people, whichever is less, per room, excluding staff; must maintain 6 ft. spacing between groups
- Offices- 50% capacity
- Transportation75% capacity
- Organized recreational youth or adult league sports may resume activities with no more than 25 players, excluding coaching staff and referees or umpires.
- Children’s day camps, residential camps, youth sports day camps and exempt single skill-building youth camps may operate with 25 people per activity.
- Schools-In-person suggested; hybrid or remote as appropriate
The Five Star business program will remain in place until Level Green is reached.
- The new dial is in effect a one-way road to progress and full reopening, and the only thing that could cause a return to more restrictions is an 80%+ surge in hospital occupancy.
- Vaccination will be the key to protecting our health and easing restrictions so businesses can get back to regular operations as soon as possible, and we can return to the personal, family, and social gatherings we all miss. Get the facts and find out more about how to get vaccinated on the Summit Public Health vaccination page.
We can do it! To move to Level Green, with most business sectors fully open, Summit County must meet the incidence rate metric (0-100 per 100,000) OR the vaccination metric (70% of SC residents fully vaccinated). With 66% of residents having received at least one dose, we are really close to reaching Level Green.
Want to know more? Questions?
Watch Friday, April 16, 2021 Board of County Commissioners and Summit Chamber Town Hall
Summit County COVID info line at 970-668-9730 Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm