Denver Mayor Michael Hancock pleaded with residents Friday to stay home as new restrictions go into effect in the city and Denver County.
“I’m asking, I’m urging, I’m pleading with everyone: Please stay home,” he said. “Please only go out for essential services.”
The mayor suggested buying a small turkey for Thanksgiving this year and urged people to celebrate only with those they live with.
“I know this is hard. I know you hate this. I hate this,” he said. “But we are doing our best to avoid a complete shutdown of our economy and, as our governor put it the other day, a catastrophic breach of our hospital system. We are trying our very best to protect lives and to protect livelihoods.”
Denver was one of 15 counties in Colorado that moved to “Level Red” on Friday due to a surge of COVID-19 cases. Level Red indicates “severe risk” on the state’s six-color dial and just below “extreme risk,” which is Level Purple.
Under Level Red restrictions “most indoor activities are prohibited or strictly limited, and outdoor activities are encouraged as an alternative,” Colorado’s health department says. “There are also significant capacity limits.”
Offices and gyms, for example, can operate at 10% capacity. Indoor dining is not allowed and bars are closed.
In-person learning for students between pre-school and 5th grade is “suggested,” while the suggestion for high schools is to do hybrid or remote learning. In-person, hybrid or remote learning is suggested for middle school students, according to the state’s health department. At all levels on the dial, childcare centers remain open.
The mayor said Friday, “We are all about to enter the hardest phase of the pandemic.”
“If this virus continues to spread like it is right now, it won’t just mean another stay-at-home order, it will mean more easily preventable loss of life. It will also mean further devastation to our economy and people’s livelihoods, creating another easily preventable health crises.”
Five counties will make the move to Level Red on Sunday. They are Alamosa, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo and Weld. Baca, Bent and Kiowa counties are moving to Level Orange on Saturday.