By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – As COVID-19 restrictions loosened up in 32 Colorado counties, entertainment venues now have the ability to host events with limited capacity. On Monday, those counties in Level Red moved into Level Orange after an announcement by Gov. Jared Polis last week.

(credit: CBS)

According to the state’s COVID restriction guidelines for counties in Level Orange, indoor seated events and entertainment can operate at 25% capacity, up to 50 people, with 6 feet of social distancing between parties. Under Level Red, indoor events are not allowed, except for at museums, aquariums, and zoos.

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While industry experts tell CBS4 they expect many venues and businesses will be unable to open right away, some gave it a try Monday. At Mile High Station, a wedding venue in the shadow of Empower Field at Mile High, dozens of people came for two separate candlelight classical music shows.

“To get this gift from the governor to be able to open so quickly was the best gift we could have received,” said Stephanie Helzer, director of sales and marketing.

The venue began the candlelight series over the summer, with the help of creative event platform Fever, as a way to keep staff employed. More than a month and a half ago, the events were put on hold due to changing COVID restrictions.

(credit: CBS)

“We had all these December shows booked and half of November,” Helzer said. “Luckily, we were able to just keep postponing and just hoping and hoping and it opened up.”

Much like earlier in the year, the venue will host two candlelight shows per weeknight, with start times at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. All seats are reserved, and guests will receive table service while they watch the show.

“We have a mezzanine here and then we have the main floor, so we’re allowed 50 people per floor,” said Helzer.

Hours ahead of the first show Monday, staff members spent time setting out more than 250 electric candles for the classical performance scheduled later in the evening. The same staff members sanitize each table and surface before and after each show.

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“It’s just been great to be able to put money in my staff’s pockets,” said Ashleigh Southerd with Fever.

Among those thankful for work were the two members of the Redstone Quartet, which performed dozens of candlelight shows over the summer.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s not a hobby for us,” said Tom Yaron. “It’s the difference between being able to pay your bills and not.”

Over the past month and a half, Tom and his musical partner, Lauren, have turned to virtual performances, since in-person ones weren’t allowed under state restrictions. The two were excited to perform in front of a crowd again and prove it can be safe.

“This is proof that something like this can happen. We just need to think creatively,” Yaron said.

According to Southerd, most of the shows scheduled for this week are sold out, but there are some tickets available for later dates.

You can find a schedule for events at Mile High Station on the venue’s website,and can purchase tickets for the candlelight series on Fever’s website.

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Conor McCue