Here's what the new red level restrictions mean for festive events. 

Last week, Governor Polis announced a major revision to Colorado's COVID-19 Dial. The dial is a tool designed to standardize levels of "openness," factoring in three metrics: new cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates. Each county uses these metrics to understand where they fall on the COVID-19 Dial and what restrictions they should enforce. It's an excellent framework designed to give counties the tools they need to make better, balanced decisions.

dial metrics
Courtesy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Previously, the dial had five levels, with red being the highest one—and it indicated that stay-at-home orders should be enforced. When state health officials realized about 15 counties were entering the red level, they decided to make some changes to the dial in an effort to avoid drastic measures. The new dial has six levels, adding a purple level above the red one. If you'd like to know which dial level your county is in, head to CDPHE's dial dashboard

We broke down the dial levels and their restrictions when this news was announced, but people want to know how the new red level will specifically impact their holiday plans. To find out, we need to take a look at the guidelines and restrictions. 

red level rules
Courtesy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Most holiday events fall in the "Outdoor/Unseated Entertainment" category, which means they can remain open at 25% capacity, or 75 people max. Indoor events are closed, and outdoor guided services (like a guided tour) can operate at 25% capacity, or 10 people max. Outdoor markets are in the retail category, and they can only accommodate 75 people per zone. Indoor events and attractions, like some museum exhibits, will be closed under red level restrictions. 

Luckily, most of the Denver holiday events (from last weekend) were designed with the anticipation of these restrictions in mind and will stay open under the red level.

The Cherry Creek Holiday Market, which is open now and free to attend, will remain open with enforced social distancing measures such as one-way traffic. The same goes for the Denver Christkindl Market, where they'll also require face masks and contact tracing—and they'll stop selling alcohol at 8 pm. 

You can also still take a ride on the Polar Express, which is a heated, outdoor event. They've reduced their overall capacity, require mask-wearing for ages three and up, and will only seat members of the same household together. The Denver Botanic Gardens will still be hosting their "annual holiday lights extravaganza," Blossoms of Light. Denver Zoo will also remain open with special safety measures in place, so you'll be able to see the 30th anniversary of the incredible Zoo Lights.

We recommend double-checking an event's website or giving them a call ahead of time to make sure you know what will be expected of you. More likely than not, you'll just have to wear a facemask, stick to your own household, and stay six feet apart from other groups. 

Will you be attending any holiday events this year? Which ones are you most excited about? If you're staying in, let us know what kind of festivities you'll get into at home!