DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis is moving “last call” for alcohol at Colorado bars and restaurants from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. as part of the effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The rule is in effect for at least 30 days. It applies to all establishments with a liquor license, including bars, restaurants, and breweries. Polis said these establishments can stay open past 10 p.m., but they cannot serve alcohol past 10 p.m.
“The state of inebriation in a public place is inconsistent with social distancing,” Polis said in announcing the rule.
The governor made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday. He said an official order will be finalized before Friday night.
“If you want to get drunk, nobody is saying alcohol causes coronavirus,” Polis said. “It doesn’t. Have your three or four people over in your home, and have that small event with them. Not 40 people in your home, and not at a bar/restaurant.”
Polis also called on the state legislature to amend Colorado’s last call laws as the state recovers from the pandemic. He asked the legislature to give cities and towns more local flexibility in establishing last call times.
Counties in danger of losing variances
In Tuesday’s press conference, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said 15 counties statewide, including Colorado Springs and El Paso County, are at risk of losing their local variances.
These counties have exceeded the coronavirus metrics their variances require them to stay below. The counties have two weeks to reverse the disease trend in order to keep their variance. If the trend is not reversed, Ryan said, the variance will be revoked and the county will be required to follow the state’s Safer at Home order.
The 15 counties at risk of losing the variances are Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Chaffee, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Mineral, Pitkin, Prowers, and Larimer.
Ryan said eight of these counties have opted to go back to the Safer at Home phase, rather than writing a mitigation plan. The list of those counties was not immediately available, but Ryan said they are mostly counties with smaller populations.