By Michael Abeyta

(CBS4) – Colorado counties that are under Level Red COVID-19 restrictions will be moved to Level Orange on the COVID dial Monday. Gov. Jared Polis tweeted the news on Dec. 30, less than a week before the restrictions were to be lifted. The announcement sent restaurants and counties scrambling, but it’s a welcome surprise.

(credit: Colorado)

“It’s been a rough year for everybody,” said Luc Hatlestad with Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners.

Businesses all over are struggling due to the pandemic. That’s why the announcement that counties with Level Red restrictions can move to Level Orange Monday was huge for local economies like Arapahoe County’s.

“It was welcome of course because we want to get our businesses open,” said Hatlestad.

It’s too early yet to see if it will make up for the losses from missing out on the holiday season. Especially for restaurants who can now offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity, but it is a start. Hatlestad says, “The fact that they can open up with just a little more capacity in early January will certainly help.”

Counties like Arapahoe County aren’t just dedicated to opening quickly.

“We are going to do it as safely as we always have and encourage businesses to do the same,” said Hatlestad.

Making the announcement on Dec. 30 meant a busy holiday weekend for counties and businesses trying to get ready, but Arapahoe County says it’s work they were ready and willing to do.

“It certainly was a scramble last week, especially going into a holiday, but it’s something that we all were able to handle,” Hatlestad said. “Anything we can do with the guidance of the health departments and so forth is a good thing.”

Michael Abeyta