New campaign urges Denver businesses, employees, to go back to the office

Coronavirus
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DENVER (KDVR) — Are you planning to return to an office in Denver soon?

Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership hope so. They’re encouraging downtown businesses to get back to in-person work in a new campaign called “Denver’s Ready.”

“Denver is ready to welcome people back downtown. We can’t say that enough,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock proclaimed on Wednesday, surrounded by blooming trees and under the shadow of Union Station.

The campaign is inviting employers to join the Denver’s Ready Coalition to access resources to facilitate getting people back to work in person. Some of those resources include recommended workplace protocols, COVID-19 considerations and employee communication skills, to name a few.

Joining Hancock in the announcement were Mike Johnston, the chairman of COVIDCheck Colorado; Tami Door, the president and CEO of Downtown Denver Partnership; and Debra Johnson, the general manager of RTD.

Many companies have slowly started bringing workers back as vaccination rates grow and precautions are loosened. Currently, about a third of Coloradans are considered fully vaccinated and nearly half have had at least one dose.

The state has loosened mask restrictions in places where 80% of people are vaccinated, and while the City of Denver still has higher case rates than other parts of the state, it is slowly reducing restrictions.

Before the pandemic, more than 135,000 people worked in downtown Denver, like at the IMA Financial Group. The company has already begun a phased approach to bringing back workers.

“As the restrictions eased, we brought people back for 25% (capacity), then 50%,” said Robert Cohen, CEO of IMA. “We are currently in phase three, which means we are eligible to have 75% of our staff back.”

Returning to work in person was nothing but good news for Brandy Tetley, who works in surety bonds.

“I love being back. Plus I love my team, love being around people. People inspire me,” Tetley said. “This last year was really hard for a lot of people, so yeah, it’s just better to be back together.”

Cohen said his employees are given the choice on whether to return in person.

“If they want to come back to the office 100% of the time, they are welcome to do that. If they want to come back with flex time, they can do that. We are also offering hybrid schedules now,” Cohen said.

In April, Mayor Michael Hancock announced that Denver would operate under restrictions that matched the state’s Level Blue guidelines for 30 days and then reassess the situation. That reassessment is set to take place in the next week, with a new local health order set to be announced before May 16.

You can watch the full press conference in the FOX31 NOW player above.

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