Colorado ends pause on COVID-19 variance applications for some counties

Waivers allowing counties to tweak state’s social distancing rules were in danger

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In mid-July, Colorado began what was to be a two-week pause on accepting any new applications for variances — waivers that allow counties to tweak the state's restrictions on activities and businesses under Colorado's safer-at-home order, the policy that came after the stay-at-home order. 

The state also notified 15 counties that it might revoke or modify their variances due to the coronavirus' spread appearing to grow more concerning. Those counties were Arapahoe, Adams, Broomfield, Chaffee, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Larimer, Mineral, Pitkin and Prowers. 

The state has since resumed processing variances starting with communities with low or no COVID-19 transmission, according to an Aug. 11 statement Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

According to the department as of Aug. 7, no variances had been revoked.  

Mineral, Pitkin, Chaffee, Custer, Prowers and Grand counties chose to revert back to the regular safer-at-home rules rather than submit a required plan to mitigate the virus' spread. 

Arapahoe, Adams, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Garfield and Larimer counties began mitigation plans in July in a bid to keep their variances. 

El Paso County collaborated with the state public-health department, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners, the City of Colorado Springs, and the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Council on strategies to curb the spread of COVID-19. Those included the following steps: 

• Public health, city, county and business officials agreed to temporarily reduce their indoor capacity to 100 people except for houses of worship. Prior, they were allowed to hold up to 175 people. 

• Officials agreed to collaborate to explore options for a free drive-through community testing site.  

• County, city and business officials made a commitment to advocate for increased working from home. 

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