Polis temporarily moves last call for alcohol to 10 p.m. due to COVID-19 surge among young people
Citing an uptick in COVID-19 cases among people between 20-29 years old, Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) announced Tuesday that for the next 30 days, last call for alcohol in the state’s bars and restaurants will move from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Smaller corrections like this coupled with responsible behavior from Coloradans for all ages is what’s going to make the difference,” Polis said.
Colorado’s bars and nightclubs that don’t serve food have already been ordered to close. Polis said he was concerned about young people getting inebriated and losing their inhibitions about social distancing and mingling with other parties in the places that have stayed open.
Despite this latest order, Polis acknowledged that many outbreaks among young people have been at private parties. He said closing bars was about showing this is the “summer of no parties” and that nightlife should be largely discouraged.
“We’re very serious that young people should be getting together in small groups and not large groups for the duration of the summer and fall as the state addresses the pandemic,” Polis said.
The governor also said that in the future when there is a COVID-19 treatment or vaccine, he hopes to allow counties to have last calls beyond 2 a.m.
“I’m very irritated by last call laws,” Polis said.
Before Polis made this announcement, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan outlined the data the state is using to track localized outbreaks.
Fifteen Colorado counties that have received variances from the statewide safer at home order have experienced enough of an increase in novel coronavirus activity that they’ve been told they need to present a mitigation plan or else backtrack on their reopenings.
These counties were: Prowers, Mineral, Grand. El Paso, Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield, Douglas, Denver, Custer, Chaffee, Broomfield, Arapahoe, Adams, and Larimer.
Ryan said eight of those counties (all of which were rural) opted to revert back to the statewide order in lieu of backtracking on their reopening.
The state has already put a two-week pause on new variances in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“If we can control the spread of the disease at a countywide level, it reduces the need for statewide disruption,” she said.