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Denver sees 'egregious' public health order violations, issues warning

The Denver health department said Tuesday it's still seeing packed events with no face covering or physical distancing requirements in place.

DENVER — Denver health officials said Tuesday they're continuing to see 'blatant' violations of the city's public health orders and warned offenders about the consequences which can include citations or business license revocations. 

“We continue to see venues holding packed events, with no required facial coverings or physical distancing. These blatant violations exacerbate a staggering increase in positive COVID cases in our community. This reckless flouting of laws, put in place to protect the public’s health, has forced us to pursue these extreme offenders," said Robert McDonald, Denver Department of Health and Environment's (DPHE) Executive Director and Public Health Administrator. 

"We will hold them accountable to the maximum extent the law allows, including revocation of business licenses.” 

>the video above is about state models predicting COVID-19 hospitalizations

The city’s positivity average over two weeks has grown to 8.5%. While new cases, over two weeks, have jumped to 514.4 for every 100,000 people, according to DDPHE. To return to the state’s Safer at Home Level 2 phase of re-opening, city case numbers must drop to, at least, 174 new cases for 100,000 people. North central region hospitalizations are also on the rise.

It's not just businesses at risk, anyone who attends a demonstration without face coverings--as required by Denver’s public health order--and proper social distancing, could be cited under the public health order.

 A citation requires a mandatory court appearance and carries a maximum penalty of $999 per violation and up to 300 days in jail, to be determined by a judge.

RELATED: Denver moves to more restrictive COVID-19 phase

Just last week, the state ordered Denver to move into the Safer at Home Level 3 High Risk category on its COVID-19 dial dashboard. That change led the state to enact further restrictions on the city, including a reduction of capacity for restaurants and retail from 50% to 25%. The city also now requires face coverings to be worn outdoors as well as indoors, when not alone or with members of your household and cannot maintain social distancing.

To get back to Level 2, the city must reduce its positivity, hospitalization and case numbers for two weeks.

A sustained increase in these metrics could force the state to issue a Stay at Home order for the city and county, the most restrictive status on the state’s COVID-19 dial.

RELATED: Here are Colorado's 5 COVID-19 restriction phases

The city reminds Denver residents they can get free COVID tests.

Residents can visit one of three community testing sites, including a new one opening today. Denver Human Services: East opens at 9:30 a.m. at 3815 Steele St. Residents can also visit Paco Sanchez Park or Montbello Recreation Center—though Montbello’s testing site has temporarily shifted to Green Valley Ranch Pool until after the elections.

RELATED: COVID-19 community testing sites in Denver seeing long lines, high demand

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