Polis closes bars, nightclubs again as Colorado sees uptick in COVID-19 cases
DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis ordered Colorado bars and nightclubs that don’t provide food to shut down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which has been on the rise in the last couple of weeks.
Bars and nightclubs were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity June 18 under Safer at Home guidelines. But, Polis said during a briefing Tuesday that a slight uptick of cases among younger people shows these environments are not entirely safe and ready to reopen.
“It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to have safe social distancing in bars and nightclubs,” Polis said. “We’ll figure out a way. There’s got to be a way. We have to make sure they are ready first.”
Bars and nightclubs will still be allowed to remain open if they serve food and function as restaurants. Bars may still sell take-out alcohol. The order remains in effect for 30 days.
Part of the reason Polis decided to order the closures, he said, was the resurgence of the virus in neighboring states. Arizona and Texas has seen a surge in cases lately and governors and in those states have ordered the closing of bars and nightclubs.
“With neighboring states, we don’t want Colorado to become a mecca of nightlife. We want to be the center of nightlife when safe. But that is not a distinction that we want during the pandemic, nor is it one that we can afford without severely risking the reopening of our economy and ongoing health of our people,” Polis said.
Polis also announced Tuesday that the state is entering third phase of reopening called “protect your neighbor.” Colorado communities that have demonstrated they are reducing the spread of the virus and are effectively responding to outbreaks and contact tracking can apply to enter this third phase next week.
This phase means different parts of the state may be at different reopening stages.
Protect your neighbor follows safer at home guidelines, which was phased in starting in late April. Under that second level, retail businesses were allowed to start offering curbside delivery and more medical procedures opened up.
State health officials anticipate a larger second wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall, along with seasonal influenza. They are hoping these new guidelines will limit the impact it may have on Colorado’s healthcare system.