Governor Jared Polis took to Facebook live to host a press conference related to the state's ongoing COVID-19 response and to announce the intensification of some restrictions in problematic parts of Colorado.
"We clearly need a more drastic shift in behavior," said Polis, after addressing increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations across the state.
In attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, multiple counties are set to enter a newly defined "red phase" of restrictions this week into next. While the 'red phase' would typically include a stay-at-home order, this adjustment will not include that requirement.
For counties entering the 'red phase,' indoor dining will be closed. Take-out is still an option, as is outdoor dining – though Polis encouraged people to avoid meeting up with those outside of their household. Bars will also remain closed in red phase areas. Gyms will be able to operate with heavy restrictions and a 10 percent capacity.
Though specifics were not released regarding which counties will be entering the red phase of COVID-19 restrictions, Polis did say that approximately 10 to 15 counties will be moving that direction over the next few days. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also joined in on the conversation to clarify that he expects Denver County to be among those increasing restrictions.
A question was asked about why Governor Polis avoided mentioning specific counties, to which he stated that some counties were considering further restrictions, including lock downs, though he hopes that can be avoided.
"We hope that by showing [the counties considering stricter measures] a path that avoids lockdowns, we can keep the economy more open. I would be surprised if any went to lockdown within the next week. It wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility, but I'm hopeful that the path today will encourage folks to stay open and to stop the exponential rise of the virus," said Polis.
According to Polis, the intensification of these restrictions is designed to save lives, help Colorado avoid breaching hospital capacity, and allow the state to move toward economic stabilization.
"Reach deep in the reservoir of willpower," said Polis, addressing how some of these changes are difficult.
Counties are also able to implement additional restrictions.
Polis asked people to do three key things to limit the spread of COVID-19, regardless of what county they're in:
1. Wear masks
2. Avoid interactions with people outside of your household
3. Distance yourself when interactions are necessary