Colorado plans more lenient coronavirus restrictions through “Dial 2.0”

State briefed local officials Saturday; public announcement expected soon

Alex Burness
The Denver Post
Colorado Governor Jared Polis gets his first COVID-19 vaccine shot from medical assistant, Staci Ramirez at the Salud Family Health Center in Commerce City January 30, 2021. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Andy Cross/The Denver Post

Confident it can prevent mass death and an overwhelmed hospital system moving forward, Colorado is preparing to relax restrictions even in counties where coronavirus cases rates remain high.

On a call Saturday with city and county leaders, state officials presented a new guideline for more lenient county-level rules, with more changes planned for mid-2021.

The changes will allow for greater economic and social freedoms, reflecting the state’s confidence that it can avoid overwhelming hospitals with cases, as the oldest and most at-risk populations of Colorado are gradually being vaccinated.

“Coloradans have made significant sacrifices to reduce disease transmission, so it is time to update the dial to reflect this reality, plus the increasing number of people who are immunized,” Jill Hunsaker Ryan, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a statement following the call with government leaders.

According to multiple sources who were on Saturday’s call, but who were not authorized to share the information they received, the draft proposal for Dial 2.0 will lead to an announcement of policy changes from the governor’s office in the next few days, perhaps on Wednesday. Before then, it plans to seek public input.

The state is plotting Dial 3.0 in March, with another possible dial update to follow a few months later.

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