As more Coloradans are eligible to get vaccinated and choose to do so, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has released the latest update to Colorado’s COVID-19 dial framework: Dial 3.0. The updated dial public health order goes into effect Wednesday, March 24. State officials expect that Dial 3.0 will remain in effect until mid-April, at which point the state plans to retire the dial and implement a new public health order that gives greater control over capacity restrictions to local public health agencies.
Dial 3.0 makes it easier for counties to move into Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors, the least restrictive level on the dial. It also removes many of the restrictions that currently apply at that level.
Additionally, several restrictions in Level Blue are loosened in Dial 3.0. Dial 3.0 metrics are further simplified and capacity limits are less restrictive. The state will work with counties to confirm their metrics under the new framework.
(One thing to note: Currently the city and county of Denver is at Level Yellow and because there are three metrics — cases, positivity and hospitalizations — that must fall within the next range to qualify, it may take some time for the metro area to move to Level Blue.)
The main changes in Dial 3.0, which is expected to be in place from March 24 to mid-April, are:
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.
5 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.
5 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.
The updated dial does not change Colorado’s current statewide mask mandate. Separate from the dial changes, the current mask Executive Order expires April 3, and at that time, the Governor may choose to make modifications.
The state released modified mask order components as part of the Dial 3.0 stakeholder engagement process. Feedback received as part of that process will be considered prior to April 3.
COVID-19 still presents risks to healthy Coloradans, so everyone should continue to take precautions until the vaccine becomes widely available and used.