Citing encouraging trends, ample hospital capacity, and a robust suppression plan for containing the spread of COVID-19, the Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners submitted a request today to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), asking the state to grant a variance from current public health orders for certain industries within the county.
The Board specifically requested that gyms, houses of worship, and restaurants be allowed to operate at 50 percent of the fire code capacity, subject to strict social distancing and sanitation measures. The Board also asked to open indoor malls, with restrictions similar to Jefferson and Douglas counties.
A variance will allow Arapahoe County to implement its own reopening plans in the timeframe that best meets the needs of its communities for the business categories mentioned above. “This request is designed to expand our local economy’s ability to recover from the pandemic in a responsible manner,” said Commissioner Nancy N. Sharpe, chair of the board. “We will continue to remain vigilant, implementing recommended public health practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within Arapahoe County.”
The CDPHE has established a review process, assessing variance request based on the level of virus transmission in a particular county, the level of exposure risk of the proposed activity, and the comprehensiveness of the proposed prevention plan.
Although Arapahoe County has one of the highest case numbers in the state, it has seen a declining trend in daily case numbers since hitting a peak in early May, distributed proportionally to the population in municipalities and unincorporated areas across the county. Nearly 25 percent of Arapahoe County cases are from a Long-Term Care Facility, and 67 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the County are from these facilities. Arapahoe County has implemented local measures to contain and manage the virus, including increased testing and contact tracing in partnership with the Tri-County Health Department.
For more information and to view the request, view the Safer at Home Variance Application.