Mayor Hancock, public health director address reopening, virus status, police reform and homeless camps

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DENVER (KDVR) – People who live, work and relax in Denver will notice that more businesses are opening as COVID-19 restrictions continue to relax, and Mayor Michael Hancock took some time Wednesday to address these changes.

During a news conference with Denver Department of Health Executive Director Bob McDonald, Hancock discussed the reopening of the Denver Zoo, Cherry Creek Mall, the DMV, dog parks and the increase in outdoor seating. Gyms are now open at 50% capacity.

Hancock, however, cautioned that we must keep it slow and should keep being cautious as the community looks toward more reopenings.

Hancock says if positive COVID-19 cases increase more than 5%, there will be a “time-out” on further reopenings.

When asked about what’s being done to keep Denver moving in the right decision, McDonald stressed the need to mobilize testing units for people who can’t get testing. He also used the on-going testing at the Pepsi Center as an example to show that the number of overall tests and the number of positive tests are both generally going in the right direction.

However, Denver has seen a slight uptick in cases and McDonald said it could because of less social distancing, but it’s too soon to tell.

McDonald stressed the importance of maintaining the use of face coverings and social distancing. As more businesses reopen and life returns toward what we’re used to, he said these two things will help prevent a spike.

Hancock and McDonald also touched on the issues in neighboring states where cases have jumped. They said there are a number of reasons for that, including some states not having stay-at-home orders, some states easing restrictions earlier than they should have and some not mandating face coverings.

As for concerns about the health and safety of homeless encampments, Hancock said the public health department is monitoring them and cleaning them as needed to keep people living there safe and healthy.

Examples given by McDonald included the cleanup of human waste and discarded needles.

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