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New COVID dial 3.0 goes into effect Wednesday

Dial 3.0 makes it easier for counties to move into level green and removes some of the restrictions at this level and at the blue level, according to CDPHE.

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Tuesday released the latest update to Colorado’s COVID-19 dial framework: Dial 3.0. The new dial will go into effect on Wednesday and remain in effect until mid-April, according to CDPHE.

“Coloradans have made great sacrifices to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19 over the past year,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “While this is still a time for caution, these changes to the Dial better reflect where we are in the pandemic today, and the balance we are trying to strike between disease suppression and economic hardship.”

According to CDPHE, Dial 3.0 would make it easier for counties to move into Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors, the least restrictive level on the dial. It would also remove many of the restrictions that currently apply at that level, CDPHE said.

Credit: CDPHE

Restrictions for bars, retail establishments, offices and non-critical manufacturing facilities would also be relaxed under Level Blue: Caution, CDPHE said. 

CDPHE said the proposed updates reflect the increasing number of Coloradans who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 80% of people 70 and older. 

A draft of the new dial was shared on March 19 to collect feedback over the weekend.

The state's role in continuing to mandate statewide restrictions is lessening, CDPHE said, and the role of local communities to regulate and manage the virus is increasing.

The following are the main changes in the dial that will go into effect Wednesday, according to CDPHE:

  • The metrics for Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors have changed. These changes make it easier for counties to achieve Protect Our Neighbors status. Now, counties qualify for Protect Our Neighbors if they have up to 35 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people -- up from 15 cases.
  • There is no longer a certification process for Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors. Counties will be moved into Level Green once they maintain the appropriate metrics for at least one week.
  • Most restrictions in Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors are now removed. Bars and indoor events must still adhere to a 50% capacity limit or a 500-person cap, whichever is fewer.
  • The metrics range for Level Blue is now 36 - 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Bars can now open under Level Blue. The capacity limit is 25% capacity or 75 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Outdoor events in Levels Green and Blue no longer have state-level capacity restrictions under the dial. Counties may choose to implement capacity restrictions on outdoor events at the local level.
  • Retail, offices, and non-critical manufacturing in Level Blue may now open to 75% capacity, up from 50%.
  • There is no longer a state limit on personal gathering sizes. The state will follow CDC’s guidance on personal gatherings. The CDC still strongly recommends avoiding larger gatherings and crowds to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Five-star restaurants and gyms in Levels Blue and Yellow may operate at 100% capacity with 6 feet of distance between parties as a way to provide businesses with increased flexibility, while still limiting indoor mass gatherings. The state expects that maintaining a 6-foot distancing requirement will be a limiting factor for most indoor spaces.
  • Five-star certified seated and unseated indoor events may operate at 50% capacity with a 500-person limit in Level Blue. 5 Star seated indoor events in Level Yellow may operate at 50% capacity with a 225 person limit and unseated indoor events in Level Yellow may operate at 50% capacity with a 175 person limit.

Fast facts about COVID dial:

  • Colorado’s dial framework has six color levels to provide guidance to counties.
  • Counties can move back and forth between levels, depending primarily on three metrics.
  • Levels are based on the number of new cases, the percent positivity of COVID-19 tests, and the impact on hospitals, as well as local considerations. As the dial moves left, toward Protect Our Neighbors, more people can participate in various activities.  
  • This framework gives communities a tool to make life in the pandemic more sustainable. 

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