Denver calls for mask-wearing outdoors limits gathering to 5 individuals as coronavirus cases rise

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Colorado News

Denver issued two new orders on Friday aimed at slowing rising coronavirus cases in Colorado’s capital city, limiting gatherings to five people and requiring mask-wearing in all outdoor settings.

The mask-wearing order expands on Denver’s order requiring face coverings in all indoor settings. Organized athletic programming — like college and high school sports, as well as organized youth and adult leagues — is exempt from the expanded order. People who are by themselves are also exempt.

The order is in effect immediately and indefinitely.

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The order limiting gatherings, which also goes into effect immediately and lasts until at least Nov. 16, applies to people who don’t live in the same household. Before, Denverites were allowed to gather in groups of up to 10.

Organized athletics are exempt from the expanded gathering order, but pick-up games and unorganized park athletics are not. Restaurants are still allowed to seat tables of up to 10 people, city officials said, because of the strict guidelines they have to adhere to.

The announcement comes as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are rising in Denver and across Colorado. Health officials are sounding the alarm, saying if the trajectory isn’t altered hospitals could eventually be overwhelmed.

MORE: “We need to get this under control now”: Colorado’s coronavirus test positivity rate rises above 5%

“We’re now seeing that we’re even higher than we’ve ever been during the course of this pandemic,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Friday during a virtual news conference.

Hancock said Denver is “on the edge of a crisis.”

The new orders come just days after Denver Public Schools opted to delay the return of in-person classes for middle school and high school students in the city because of the worsening COVID-19 situation.

Bob McDonald, who leads the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, said Denverites really should avoid gathering with people outside of their household for the near future.

The city is pledging increased enforcement to ensure people are abiding by the expanded orders.

“We are going to increase the number of members from the Department of Safety to proactively check our parks, the 16th Street Mall — many places in Denver that are popular for gathering,” McDonald said. “… Members of the Department of Safety are also going to respond to calls where there are violations of the public health order, even in residential settings.”

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/16/denver-coronavirus-restrictions-rising-cases/

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