What is Protect Our Neighbors?
On June 30, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the final roadmap for the Protect Our Neighbors phase.
This means communities that meet certain criteria have less stringent restrictions, and may permit activities at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, with at least six feet between non-household members, and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time. Communities that can demonstrate strong public health and health care systems -- paired with low virus levels -- will be able to take on more control over their own reopening plans. Strong local public health and health care systems are the key to reopening the economy. Different communities will be at different phases, based on local conditions and capabilities.
Is Protect Our Neighbors Currently in Effect?
No, this phase is not currently in effect. Local counties and regions will need to take several steps to qualify.
- Certify qualification according to the scientific metrics below.
- Submit a mitigation and containment plan on what the county or region will do if they fall out of compliance with any of the metrics. The plan must also include how counties will promote public compliance with the guidelines; increase mask-wearing in public settings; and increase flu vaccine uptake, to ensure we don’t lose health care system capacity needed for COVID-19.
Counties must qualify by meeting scientifically established thresholds of:
- Low disease transmission levels,
- Capacity for testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response, and
- Hospital ability to meet the needs of all patients and handle the surge in demand for intensive hospital care.
In addition, communities must have mitigation and containment plans approved by local elected leaders including county commissioners and mayors, the hospitals that serve the county, law enforcement, emergency management, the local public health director, and if applicable, tribes.