State of Colorado Retires COVID “Dial” and Passes Mitigation Responsibilities to Local Public Health Agencies. SJBPH Public Health Order Maintains Most Effective Protocols, Masks, Six Foot Distancing, While Easing Other Protocols Like Percentage Capacity Limits

Governor Polis announced this week that the State of Colorado is retiring the state dial for COVID-19 mitigation and public health protocols. Over the past seven months, businesses, community groups, and Southwest Coloradans alike have become familiar with the dial as a color-coded tool for guiding capacity limits and other public health protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The State dial will no longer be in effect as of tomorrow, April 16, 2021. Face coverings are still required in public indoor settings per an Executive Order issued by the State of Colorado and through the local Public Health Order issued by San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) on April 6th.

Governor Polis is shifting responsibility to local public health agencies and directing them to enact protocols that fit the health conditions of their communities. SJBPH is committed to limiting the spread of COVID-19 to protect public health and save lives. SJBPH will continue to do so in a way that follows science-based guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the goals of reducing disease transmission, maintaining in-person learning, and supporting the recovery of the local economy.

Tomorrow, SJBPH will enact a local public health order putting both La Plata and Archuleta counties in a simplified version of “Level Blue,” maintaining the most effective protocols and trimming others (like percentage capacity limits) from the State’s outgoing dial system.

  • La Plata and Archuleta counties will stay in Level Blue for 30 days until May 15, 2021, at which point the requirements will expire and the counties will enter a monitoring and advisory phase.
  • The Public Health Order will expire prior to May 15, 2021 if the county’s case incidence rate drops below 35 cases per 100,000 residents.

When this public health order expires, both counties are likely to remain under indoor mask requirements per the State of Colorado and SJBPH, however, additional mitigation measures will instead be issued as guidance in a local public health advisory. SJBPH will closely track disease transmission and hospitalizations in the monitoring and advisory phase and update the community as needed.

“With cases on the rise again, we still need effective protocols to keep us safe as we get more of the community vaccinated,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH Executive Director. “The State requested that local public health agencies like SJBPH put protocols in place that will keep our communities safe. SJBPH’s local public health order keeps six-foot physical distancing in addition to the indoor mask requirement—the most effective and scientifically supported measures that will limit the spread of the virus in the critical weeks ahead. The order also removes a few of the less effective protocols and sets a clearer timeline to transition these requirements to advisories.”

Summary of SJBPH’s 30-Day “Level Blue” Public Health Order:

  • Face Coverings: Face coverings are required in all public indoor settings unless all individuals present are fully vaccinated.
    • Businesses or facilities should err on the side of assuming that some people entering their indoor site are unvaccinated. With only one third of our community fully vaccinated, most indoor public settings like grocery stores, retail stores, and gyms must continue to require mask wearing.
  • Physical Distancing: Businesses and public indoor spaces must manage capacity so that six feet of distance is maintained between households or parties, excluding staff. Percentage capacity limits no longer apply. Physical distancing is recommended, but not required, in outdoor settings.
  • Transmission Control: Employers must follow symptom monitoring protocols to keep sick employees and guests out of public places, follow ventilation guidance to the extent possible, and maintain hygiene and other protocols to limit disease transmission.
  • Self-Certification: Requires special events to attest that they will comply with public health orders and provides an opportunity to publicly post that certification for the general public. Other public places may use self-certification as a tool to improve consumer confidence and apply requirements and recommendations to their operation.

SJBPH continues to urge everyone to follow these important public health precautions:

  • Getting tested if you are symptomatic, think you’ve been exposed, or if you work in a high-contact job
  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine (all residents age 16 and up are now eligible for vaccine)
  • Wearing face masks
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet
  • Avoiding nonessential indoor spaces, and gatherings with others not in your household
  • Avoiding nonessential travel, especially until you are fully vaccinated
  • Washing hands thoroughly

For COVID-19 data, testing locations, and information about vaccines visit:

https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.