Unvaccinated People Will Now Be Banned From Here, Starting Nov. 19
This new mandate was just announced with less than a week's notice.
During this past summer's deadly COVID surge, officials started introducing vaccine mandates in order to combat rising cases. While the White House and various large companies have issued sweeping mandates over the last few months, some of the first COVID vaccine requirements in the country were enacted at the state and city level. California and New York are already requiring vaccinations for most healthcare and state employees, while major cities such as Los Angeles and New York City are mandating that proof of vaccination be shown before patrons enter most indoor spaces, including restaurants, bars, gyms, and theaters. And now, a new state vaccine mandate is being putting into place with less than week's notice.
On Nov. 14, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a public health order enacting a new vaccine requirement for numerous residents. Six counties in the state—all in the Denver metro area—will require that everyone eligible be vaccinated at indoor, unseated events with more than 500 people. The counties impacted by this mandate are Arapahoe, Adams, Broomfield, Boulder, Denver, and Jefferson. The cities of Denver and Broomfield will also be implementing this new requirement, which will go into effect on Nov. 19.
The public health order lists examples of large, unseated events as "concerts, receptions, bars, dance halls, and auctions," The Denver Post reported. According to the news outlet, venues in affected countries that already require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be allowed to continue using proof of testing until Dec. 1. But after this date, all patrons must be fully vaccinated with no test-out option.
"I am grateful for the counties that are coordinating with the state to slow the spread of the virus. Large venues and local governments are part of the solution to ending the pandemic," Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the CDPHE, said in a statement.
Colorado's new vaccine mandate is an additional protocol "to prevent superspreader events," per a statement released by the health department. And while the implementation of this requirement is coming quick on the heels of the announcement, it also comes as Colorado is experiencing a new surge in COVID cases. According to The New York Times, Colorado has seen anywhere from 600 to more than 7,500 new cases each day since Nov. 1. Over the last two weeks, cases have risen by 11 percent in the state.
"Right now what we're seeing across the Rocky Mountain West, the Upper Midwest, sort of this swath of the country, we were largely spared the Delta spike in summer and late summer. But we're getting it now," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told reporter Margaret Brennan during a Nov. 14 interview on CBS News' Face the Nation. "We have about 1,500 people hospitalized, 81 percent of them, Margaret, are unvaccinated."
But Colorado is just one of the states dealing with a new spike in COVID cases right now. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the majority of U.S. states have reported a rise in cases this past week, per USA Today. Ali Mokdad, PhD, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington, told the news outlet that no state has yet achieved a high enough vaccination rate yet to avoid further COVID outbreaks.
So, Colorado might not be the only state looking into new vaccine requirements. Top White House COVID advisor Anthony Fauci, MD, has said that more vaccine mandates might be needed to control the pandemic.
"I would absolutely prefer that we do not have to do mandates, because I think we should get people to do things on their own accord. However, one thing we do know [is] that mandates work," Fauci said during a Nov. 12 interview on The New York Times' podcast The Daily. "I would prefer that people do this on their own accord because of their realization of their responsibility to themselves, their families, and society. If that doesn't work, I am all in favor of mandates."