Denver will hit the ‘pause button’ on reopening due to recent spike in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Mayor Michael Hancock provided an update on COVID-19 in Denver on Wednesday morning.

Hancock said that Denver is seeing troubling numbers when it comes to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the city. He said the positivity rate was 2.7 percent in June and it is now between 4 and 5 percent.

During the press conference, Hancock said that he will hit the “pause” button on reopening Denver due to recent spike in COVID-19 cases. He also said that he will reach out to Gov. Jared Polis and put any variance requests on hold due to the spike.

Hancock said, “Wear your face covering. Do not get together in large groups. Try to stay at home as much as possible. The recent spike is extremely concerning.”

Hospitalizations are also on the rise, according to Hancock. In June there were 87 hospital beds in use. As of Wednesday, there are 140 beds in use.

“I’m encouraging everyone: wear face coverings. Let’s reverse this trend in an uptick in cases,” Hancock said. “Young adults, we need you to be mindful and think beyond yourselves.”

Members of the special events sector say Hancock’s announcement regarding variances puts a greater hold on their industry. 

“It’s a lot of Denver businesses that have literally had the brakes put on them when they can have safe events. And I respect the decision why this is happening but we’ve got to have other solutions out there,” said Patty Moser, member of the Colorado Event Alliance and longtime venue development specialist.

The Colorado Event Alliance has been pushing for months to loosen restrictions on the events industry. A group of events industry professionals in the Denver area submitted a variance request previously. That request was not approved. 

Moser says there is a fear among their industry that the decision in Denver will prompt other counties to halt variance applications.

“I think that’s the key thing here. These are small businesses and people will not recover.”

Jeremy Matzke, owner of Owl Saloon says the pause on submitting variances will not directly impact his business. However, it raises the question whether stricter regulations will come for the restaurant industry.

“If it regressed, it would kill all of us. I’m guessing right now that 60 percent of the industry will not survive by the new year,” said Matzke.

While the Colorado Event Alliance is fighting to reopen the special events industry, it is also supporting frontline workers by collecting donations online.

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