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Polis emphasizes mask wearing as nearby states experience COVID-19 resurgence

Governor Jared Polis touched on Colorado's reopening and concerns about the resurgence of COVID-19 in surrounding states.

DENVER — Governor Jared Polis said Colorado has continued to see a downward trend of new COVID-19 cases, but that it’s not out of the woods – especially since many nearby states have seen a resurgence of the virus.

“We’re actually the only state in the mountain west time zone that’s seeing a steady decline in cases,” Polis said. “We’re worried that a reversal in this trend would lead to a loss of life … this is crunch time, folks.”

He pointed to reports of 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Boulder, many of which were among college students who had attended parties in the Hill neighborhood.

There were few new announcements during Thursday’s news conference. Instead, the governor used that time to emphasize the continued need to wear masks in public and to exercise personal responsibility to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

When COVID-19 was first confirmed in Colorado three and a half months ago, Polis started holding news conferences three times a week. At this stage in the response, the governor said he’ll reduce that number to just once per week. This comes as more businesses – including bars and casinos – have been given permission to reopen, albeit at reduced capacity.

Polis, a self-proclaimed baseball fan, also expressed optimism the Colorado Rockies will play this year during a news conference that was laden with baseball metaphors.

“You can’t try to dust the corners and be fancy with three balls or the situation will deteriorate,” Polis said, when asked about Arizona’s decision to reimpose restrictions on businesses due to a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

He also read a comment from a Colorado citizen who “thanked” him for being an “overlord.”

“He’s being facetious,” Polis said, before once again emphasizing mask-wearing in public. “[COVID-19] is going to be with us for a while, and it’s not about anybody trying to control you.”

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RELATED: Polis announces new round of safer-at-home guidelines

The following restrictions are expected to be loosened under the guidelines:

  • Personal services such as facials and shaves allowed to resume. 
  • Residential (sleep-away) camps allowed to resume with lower capacity.
  • Indoor events can begin to open at lower capacity including indoor markets, theaters and trade shows.
  • Outdoor events can begin to reopen at lower capacity, including fairs and concerts.
  • Bars can open with up to 25 percent capacity or 50 people, with more options with outdoor seating.

The governor said there's a risk in all activities and some may choose to not attend for safety reasons. For those that choose to attend, Polis added the need to make these activities as safe as possible for everyone.

The governor also announced a long-term sustainable framework called "Protect Our Neighbors" that some communities in Colorado can enter as long as they qualify.

RELATED: Owner of arcade bar frustrated he can't reopen while casinos can

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