State officials Monday approved the majority of El Paso County's variance request to Colorado's current coronavirus public health order, including allowing restaurants and other venues to accommodate up to 175 people indoors and as many as 250 outdoors.

The variance approval is effective immediately and updates the county's previous health order that allowed gatherings of no more than 50 people.

State officials also granted Douglas County's request to increase event capacities.

Businesses and activities allowed for the new capacities include gyms, athletic training facilities, Indoor Water Park at Great Wolf Lodge, theaters, indoor malls, libraries, restaurants, indoor private events such as receptions and business meetings, according to the variance. Indoor attractions such as museums and art galleries also qualify for the variance as do indoor recreation activities including park nature centers, bowling alleys, ice rinks, laser tag, indoor gun ranges, escape rooms, and Nerfgun battles.

Outdoor activities that can now operate at a capacity up to 250 people include outdoor museums and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, paintball, miniature golf courses, go-kart tracks, and outdoor private events such as receptions and family reunions.

Amusement parks, such as Cave of the Winds and Santa’s Workshop are not included in the variance. The county had asked to reopen amusement parks, but officials denied that request and said they are not opening any amusement park in the state.

"...with the sheer volume of high touch surfaces such as park rides and the likelihood of constant mingling of non-household contacts throughout the park, we are not currently approving any requests for amusement parks," the variance form stated.

 El Paso County also sought to increase capacities in shuttle operations for outdoor recreation up to 75%, but state health officials denied that request. Citing the "safer-at-home" guidelines the state is currently following, outdoor recreation shuttle buses and vans must remain at 50% capacity.

El Paso County has reported 2,266 COVID-19 cases as of Monday and has a two-week average positivity rate of 3.41%, which puts the county in the “low” category, according to state data.

Douglas County is also allowed to have indoor gatherings up to a maximum of 175 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people under a variance approved Friday. Read more here.

Gov. Jared Polis extended an order to allow food trucks to operate at truck stops in Colorado.

Polis said the order supports truckers by again provided "freshly prepared food options while providing additional economic opportunities" during the pandemic.

Polis also signed an order Monday that continues the temporary suspension of tax filings on certain property for 30 days from June 28.



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