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Mayor Michael Hancock April 16 2020
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at Emergency Operations Center of Denver City and County building in Denver, Colorado on April 16. Photo by Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post

Denver Restricts Public and Private Gatherings to a Maximum of 5 People

The new restrictions—which include a stiffer outdoor mask mandate—come as daily cases of COVID-19 in Denver reach a new high.

If five or more people live in your Denver household, you won’t be having guests over for at least a month—at least not legally. That’s according to the new public health restrictions imposed by Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration on Friday morning. The maximum gathering of people in Denver has been reduced from a 10-person maximum to a five-person maximum, and the city has promised stricter enforcement of this ordinance.

And yes, according to Department of Public Health & Environment executive director Bob McDonald, “This does apply to residential settings.”

Hancock and McDonald both spoke at a virtual press conference Friday morning, during which they documented the rise of COVID-19 cases in Denver and outlined two new restrictions for the city: In addition to gathering limits, masks will now be required in outdoor settings wherever people are interacting with someone outside of their household. If you’re outdoors by yourself—walking down the street or jogging in a park, for instance—you will not be required to wear a mask. But if you’re interacting outside with anyone you don’t live with—in groups of five or less, of course—the mask mandate applies.

There are also several exemptions to the gathering limit. At restaurants, which are already operating under guidance from city officials, the maximum number of people gathered will remain 10. Translation: If you wish to interact with more than four other people, you’ll be able to do that at a restaurant but not at your home.

Additionally, “organized sports” are exempt from the gathering limit—which will allow college football and other sanctioned athletic events to happen this fall, primarily because leagues (like restaurants) are already adhering to a different set of public health guidelines, Hancock said. The same applies to classrooms, which are implementing different protocols to keep students safe. Most businesses, though, are not exempt, meaning in-person meetings with more than five people are not permitted.

The two new restrictions are effective immediately and will remain in place through November 16.

“The average number of daily cases, are even higher than they’ve ever been over the course of this pandemic,” Hancock said. “We’re taking these additional steps…because right now we need to do more.”

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