By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced new limits on group gatherings and new requirements for face coverings in more settings. Officials warned that more restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses will be implemented if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase.

Group gatherings are now limited to five people, instead of 10. The new restriction on group gatherings does not apply to classroom settings and there are exceptions for organized sports.

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(credit: iStock/Getty)

Face masks will now be required in outdoor settings when congregating with people outside your family. There are some exemptions for organized sports.

“The first public health order is a tougher mask mandate that will require face coverings and more settings and will be effective immediately and be in place until further notice,” Hancock said.

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“The second order will address the number of non-related people allowed together in unregulated settings, reducing that number from 10 to five, and will be in effect until Nov. 16,” Hancock said.

(credit: City of Denver)

People violating the public health order, even in residential settings, may be issued a summons to appear in court. Violations of the order could include up to a $1,000 fine and 300 days in jail.

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One man gave his reaction to CBS4, “I think you should let people do what they want and live with the consequences of their own actions.”

“Whatever it takes to keep people safe, I’m totally fine wearing a mask outside,” said another person.

Hancock held up a mask in an online news conference, “We’re waiting for a vaccine, but this is, it’s been scientifically proven, this is the best vaccine we have right now.”

Businesses are also encouraged to go virtual as much as possible.

“Positivity rates are concerning,” Hancock said. “In fact, for average number of daily cases we’re now seeing that we were even higher than we have been or we’re higher than we’ve ever been over the course of this pandemic.”

(credit: City of Denver)

Officials warned that more restrictions will be implemented if the positivity rate continues to climb.

“We will see reduced capacities for restaurants. Last call for alcohol sales will be earlier. There’ll be reduced capacities for a wide range of manufacturers, offices, a wide range of retailers, further restrictions on outdoor settings and indoor settings,” said Bob McDonald, Executive Director at the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.

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Large protests and demonstrations will be allowed to continue on the streets of Denver since those gatherings are exempt under Freedom of Speech, according to Hancock.

Rick Sallinger