Understanding Colorado’s new coronavirus Level Red: Severe Risk restrictions

Updated Nov. 19, 2020

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COVID-19 dial update in response to surging Colorado cases 

Over the past few weeks, the state and nation have been experiencing a steady increase in COVID-19 cases. As a result, new Level Red: Severe Risk for the numerous Colorado counties go into effect on Friday, Nov. 20. 

Previously, counties were adhering to Level 3 restrictions on the COVID dial. This shift confirms that Denver and much of the state is now at a severe risk for spreading COVID-19 than it has been over the summer and beginning of the Fall. 


The new Colorado COVID-19 dial levels, effective Nov. 20, are:

1. Level Green — Protect our neighbors

Protect our neighbors: for counties that are able to locally contain surges. Most businesses are open with generous capacity limits.

2. Level Blue — Caution

Caution: for counties with low transmission levels that aren’t quite ready for Protect Our Neighbors. Capacity limits are more permissive than yellow.

3. Level Yellow — Concern

Concern: the baseline level for counties with elevated transmission levels but stable hospitalizations.

4. Level Orange — High Risk

High Risk:  for counties where numbers are going up but not to the point where everything needs to be shut down. The capacity limits are moderate.

5. Level Red — Severe Risk

Severe Risk: for counties with high levels of transmission, hospitalizations, and positivity rates. Most indoor activities are prohibited or strictly limited, and outdoor activities are encouraged as an alternative. The capacity limits are significant.

6. Level Purple — Extreme Risk

Extreme Risk: for counties where hospital capacity is at extreme risk of being overrun. At this level, all businesses must significantly curtail in person functions and people must stay at home except for necessary activities.

CDPHE has notified the following counties that they will move to Level Red on Friday, November 20, 2020:

  • Adams
  • Arapahoe
  • Boulder
  • Broomfield
  • Clear Creek
  • Denver
  • Douglas
  • Jefferson
  • La Plata
  • Logan
  • Mesa
  • Morgan
  • Routt
  • Summit
  • Washington

CDPHE has notified the following counties that they will move to Level Orange on Friday, November 20, 2020:

  • Costilla
  • Custer
  • Lake
  • Montezuma
  • Pitkin
  • San Juan

CDPHE has notified the following counties that they will move to Level Yellow on Friday, November 20, 2020:

  • Las Animas
  • Gunnison


CDPHE will share additional counties moving to more restrictive levels as necessary on the official Colorado state government COVID-19 site.

Denver’s new restrictions for outdoor mask wearing and group gatherings

In addition to Denver’s new Safer at Home Level 3 restrictions, on Oct. 16 Mayor Hancock announced new gathering limitations and mask requirements in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Colorado.

Effective immediately:

  • Individuals must wear masks when outdoors while congregating with anyone except people in their immediate household or when they are alone.
  • The number of people allowed to gather in unregulated public and private gatherings from 10 to five people


Image courtesy of Mayor Hancock’s October 16 press conference.


“It’s okay to go to your favorite restaurant, it’s okay to go for a run to the park, it’s okay to play basketball as long as you’d adhere to guidelines, it’s okay to go to your favorite gym… so many things can be done as long as we’re following the right restrictions for those venues.”

“[With] these additional steps we’re aiming to strike a balance between keeping people healthy and frankly keeping Denver’s economy alive,” said Hancock.

On November 16, the gathering order will expire and be re-evaluated for possible extensions depending on public safety improvements and Colorado’s COVID-19 case numbers. 

However, the new mask order will be in place until further notice. Use our expert tips to wear your face mask safely and effectively. 


Help combat the coronavirus spread in Colorado with your mobile phone

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