DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock (D-Denver) discussed economic strategies to help the city and county recover from the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday.
Hancock and city officials are focused on getting the economy moving "for those workers and businesses in sectors that will be foundational to our success in the wake of this pandemic."
Hancock said the goal is to build back in a way that creates a broader foundation for more people to prosper and seize opportunities in the city. He stressed the importance in investing in infrastructure that will help create jobs and local businesses regain ground lost during the pandemic.
Hancock said Denver’s AAA bond rating gives the city the ability to invest in infrastructure and capital improvement projects. He plans to send a proposal to Denver City Council on a $400 million bond package for referral on the November ballot to help with recovery efforts.
“In the coming weeks, we will be engaging with members of city council and our residents to help determine what will be included in this package to make the broadest impact across our city,” Hancock said.
With funding from the American Rescue Plan, Hancock said Denver will restore essential city services that were cut over the last year and help provide relief to some of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic like construction, restaurants, hospitality and tourism.
In an effort to help restaurants struggling during the pandemic, Hancock announced Denver’s outdoor patio program will be expanded through October of 2022.
Wednesday's news conference was the first of several announcements in the coming weeks discussing top priorities of Hancock's administration; the economy, unhoused and unsheltered neighbors, and overall community safety.
>Video below: Full news conference on economic recovery with Mayor Hancock
Hancock announced two weeks ago that Denver was ending it's outdoor mask ban and moving to Level Blue restrictions on the state's COVID dial when control on restrictions was transferred to local governments.
“We believe it is necessary to keep many restrictions in place for at least the next 30 days in indoor and outdoor settings,” Hancock said on April 14.
Under Level Blue, many indoor settings including restaurants and gyms are allowed to go back to 100% capacity while maintaining social distancing requirements. The state maintains control of indoor events with 500 or more in attendance.
Denver also adopted some outdoor capacity limits. Events with 5,000 or fewer expected to attend will be asked to send a written mitigation plan to Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE). Events that expect more than 5,000 to attend must consult with DDPHE before moving forward.
Denver's Five Star Certification Program is also remaining in place for now and will be reevaluated in May, along with the Level Blue restrictions and indoor mask requirements.
More than 40% of Denver residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine as of Wednesday, according to Hancock.
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