Denver will mirror its neighboring counties and will lift its capacity and distancing requirements Sunday, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Friday afternoon, and the city will also align with the state's new guidance around masking.
"Congratulations Denver," he said at a press conference, where attendees clapped after he announced the end of public health measures. "We are at this point because you did what was necessary."
Denver will join several of its neighbors in moving to level clear this weekend, which has none of the capacity or social distancing requirements of past orders. Hancock also said that the city will align with Gov. Jared Polis's new masking stance, which removes an order and replaces it with a recommendation that the unvaccinated wear masks. Fully vaccinated people, however, can go maskless in nearly all settings, with the exceptions of hospitals, schools, jails and prisons, homeless shelters and similar places.
A spokeswoman for the county confirmed the move to level clear to the Gazette on Thursday night.
The only remaining restriction, the city wrote in a Friday evening press release, are indoor events of more than 500 people, which "must get approval" from the city's and state's health departments. Otherwise, capacity and distancing requirements for gyms, restaurants, bars, offices and other previously controlled spaces will have no capacity or distancing restrictions beginning Sunday.
In orders released by the other metro-area counties, the move to level clear will include a 90-day observation period, where measures can be re-implemented if hospitalization rates tick upward. Spokeswoman Clarissa Boggs-Blake told the Gazette on Thursday that Denver will monitor its hospitalization and COVID-19 rates indefinitely and will enforce restrictions if needed.
The move to level clear and the change to the masking order will begin Sunday.
A month ago, Polis announced that individual counties would assume the burden of implementing and enforcing most COVID-19 mitigation measures. At the time, Denver and other metro-area health officials said they would collaborate to enforce uniform measures and that, come mid-May, those measures would likely all cease, so long as the pandemic had remained under control.
That's held true in Denver, where the average number of new cases identified each day is lower than its been in several months.
Hancock praised the city for following COVID-19 measures and for getting vaccinated. He joined Polis, who spoke earlier in the day Friday, in urging any unvaccinated residents to get inoculated.
"Because of that effort, we can enjoy this summer's outdoors," he said, "and be ready for the winter arts season."