CDPHE Issues Public Health Order 20-38: Limited COVID-19 Restrictions


The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has issued Public Health Order (PHO) 20-38: Limited COVID-19 Restrictions, which allows counties to implement regulations at the local level while still maintaining some limited requirements across the state. Counties may use the statewide dial framework as a model for implementing their own regulations. 

The dial framework, originally implemented on September 15, 2020, standardized the levels of openness or restrictions on a county level, based on the metrics of disease transmission, the level of local testing, and hospitalizations. It allowed Colorado to tailor its response on a county level, recognizing that conditions vary locally. With increased vaccination rates and less threat to hospital capacity, the state’s role in continuing to mandate statewide restrictions is lessening and the role of local communities to regulate and manage the virus is increasing. The Colorado dial will remain as guidance to counties and the state still strongly recommends that businesses and other entities follow best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

Summary of changes on the new, post-Dial PHO, which rescinds the Dial PHO and implements limited restrictions in certain settings:

  • Rescinds and replaces Public Health Order 20-36 COVID-19 Dial and Public Health order 20-29 Voluntary and Elective Surgeries and Procedures
  • Requires compliance with Executive Order D 2020 138, as amended and extended, concerning face coverings
  • Requires all businesses and government entities consider reasonable accommodations for individuals who cannot access or cannot take COVID-19 vaccines, follow the mask executive order, and strongly encourages following CDPHE sector guidance for disease mitigation
  • Requires six feet distancing and masks for mass indoor gatherings, defined as gatherings in public indoor spaces that exceed 100 individuals, and caps these gatherings to no more than 500 people absent a variance.  Exempts places of worship, retail settings, restaurants that have seated dining and do not have gathering spaces that allow for more than 100 people to congregate, and allows local public health agencies to approve proms and graduation plans in excess of these caps in accordance with CDPHE guidance.
  • Requires schools to follow the CDPHE schools and child care outbreak guidance and further requires that when learning is all remote, extracurricular activities are not authorized in person.
  • Requires CDPHE approval of all outdoor seated, ticket event venues in excess of 30,000 square feet, in consultation with the local public health agency.
  • Continues existing hospital reporting requirements
  • Continues authority for CDPHE to require additional restrictions for any county when a county's resident hospitalizations threaten to exceed 85% of hospital or hospital system capacity