DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis announced on Tuesday afternoon that numerous counties in the State of Colorado are soon going to be moving to a new, more restrictive phase on the coronavirus dial which means indoor dining will no longer be allowed at restaurants. The phase will be “Red – Severe Risk,” which is a new level on the dial, and the activation will happen on Friday at the earliest.

(credit: CBS)

Denver, Jefferson and Arapahoe County are among 15 counties moving to Level Red.

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“We expect to be there,” Hancock said, referring to the new Red phase.

Karen LuKanic, who owns Congress Park staple, Chef Zorbas, said she was concerned about how the temporary pause on indoor dining will affect her business.

She recently opened her newly renovated dining room after a summer of outdoor only dining. In that time, she said the restaurant brought in only about 35% of the prior year’s sales.

“My biggest fear or reaction is I need to figure out if it’s safer for my employees to get back on unemployment so they’re OK,” LuKanic said. “If I can’t give them the hours to work and I can’t come up with the money to pay them, then I have some tough decisions ahead of me.”

On Tuesday evening, the state released a list of the counties moving to Level Red, which can be found here.

“This is the riskiest time for the virus everywhere in Colorado that we have had from the very start,” Polis said.

While Pueblo and Pitkin county officials told CBS4 they thought they might be in the red category, the switch has not happened yet. A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said via email, “we are working closely with our local partners to evaluate disease transmission in their communities and to determine if a move to the Red Level is necessary.”

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(credit: CBS)

“We must act now to save lives. We must act now to avoid a shutdown or lockdown,” Polis said.

The number of positive cases of coronavirus in the state continues to rise. And approximately 1,300 Coloradans are currently hospitalized due to coronavirus.

The new phase also means that capacity at gyms will be lowered to 10%.

“I’m calling on Denver, and the metro region to step up like we’ve done before, to push back mightily on this virus and get back under control. The blunt force response of another stay at home order can be avoided if we take the simple, but necessary actions to limit the chance for exposure to the virus. So we simply must do it. Stay at home as much as possible. Put those social gatherings on hold for the time being, including extra care for Thanksgiving,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “Please work from home. If you have the ability, and to our business owners, please let your employees work from home.”

Denver went into Level Orange: High Risk late last month, which put all restaurants and retail at 25% capacity, down from 50% capacity, places of worship at 25% capacity or 50 people, indoor events at 50% capacity or 25 people, whichever is fewer, and personal services from 50% to 25% capacity.

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Jesse Sarles