ARAPAHOE COUNTY, CO — An emergency public health order has been issued in Arapahoe County amid rising coronavirus cases, officials announced Friday.
The order, which goes into effect at 11 p.m. Friday, requires the following changes for businesses and residents:
All alcohol sales at restaurants and bars in the county will end at 11 p.m. instead of midnight
Personal gatherings (such as those with families, friends and neighbors) are restricted to 10 people or fewer, instead of the 25-person limit.
Nonessential, office-based businesses are encouraged to increase telecommuting within office-based environments.
“There are several reasons for these steps. First, Tri-County Health Department’s contact tracing and case investigation have revealed that many people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have attended private gatherings during their time of likely exposure,” the agency said in a news release.
“Second, limiting sale of alcohol has been an effective step in other jurisdictions, including statewide, following restrictions during July. Third, we are seeing a growing number of outbreaks across the county, many of which are related to places of employment.”
The order is scheduled to expire Nov. 1, unless it’s extended, officials said.
More than 700 new cases have been reported in the county over the past week, according to the latest public health data.
“This emergency public health order is an attempt to lower the increasing cases of COVID-19 in order to protect the health of our community and avoid the need for further reductions in community activities such as businesses, schools, and houses of worship in Arapahoe County,” said John Douglas, executive director of Tri-County Health Department.
“I know it gets old and that everyone has COVID fatigue, but there is strong reason to believe that infection could further spread and hospitalizations increase as we move further into the fall and winter. There will be light at the end of the tunnel as new vaccines become available, and we just cannot let our guard down yet.”
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On the state’s dial, Arapahoe County is at Safer at Home Level 1. Moving to Level 2 would trigger a range of new restrictions:
Tighter capacity limits for offices, businesses, restaurants and houses of worship;
Stricter limits on group sports, gyms and bars
Tighter restrictions for some outdoor activities.
“No one wants to see our communities and economy return to the widespread shutdowns we had this past spring,” said Nancy Sharpe, Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners Chair.
“If we implement these mitigation measures now, we may be able to reverse these trends. It’s up to everyone to continue to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.”
This article originally appeared on the Littleton Patch