By Alan Gionet

MORRISON, Colo. (CBS4) – Large venues are starting to breathe the heady air of greater capacities. The Colorado Avalanche played to 7,750 fans on Monday night. The capacity jumped to more than 42% for the start of the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues.

“A full house would even be better. It’s the playoffs,” said one fan outside the game. “COVID’s going to be gone when the All-Star game gets here.”

The man alluded to the full capacity the city and the state agreed to when baseball’s All-Star game was moved to Denver.

(credit: CBS)

Denver is taking new steps toward full re-opening at many venues.

“We want to take a phased approach to getting to 100 percent capacity especially in those large venues,” said Bob McDonald, executive director for Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. “One of the things that I think we’ve realized throughout the pandemic is the more we have this patchwork of public health orders the harder it is for regulated venues to comply, the harder it is for citizens to know what they’re supposed to do. And with more confusion comes less compliance and with less compliance comes more cases and more transmission.”

The state still has orders in place for indoor venues with capacities over 500 people, but McDonald says when those likely come off, the city will follow and take a look at plans from venues for greater opening.

“We’ll look at it on a case by case basis.”

Expect some venues to be divided into sections like Red Rocks was previously, said McDonald.

“In the very large venues we really will to ask them to kind of divide them up into cohorts where you have large groups of people will go to one group of vendors food service vendors at Empower Field and another large group that will go to another group of retail food vendors.”

Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison has its sights set on June 21 when they’ll be able to host full-capacity concerts. On Monday, the venue’s capacity limit more than doubled, now 6,300 up from 2,800.

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The first act with the above capacity will be Mt. Joy on Saturday.

Over the weekend, the venue and city of Denver hosted a pop-up vaccination clinic for concertgoers. In return, they got a t-shirt and a voucher for the concession stand.

(credit: CBS)

Masks are no longer a requirement at the outdoor venue. Red Rocks is also replacing its systems of sections divided into quadrants. Seating will be in upper and lower levels, but movement to concessions and restrooms will not be restricted.

“Fans who still have tickets in the quadrant system will still be asked to come in through their individual gate as they try to control parking and ingress and egress,” said spokesman Brian Kitts.

Acts are being added, and others that had planned shows later in the summer will be allowed full capacity. That means no difficult choices of who gets to attend among those who are holding tickets for sold-out shows carried over from last year.

“I think those Widespread Panic shows that are about to go on sale are being built at full capacity. Those will be the first ones,” said Kitts. The shows are scheduled for June 25, 26 and 27.

He hoped for fans to still be considerate.

“I still think that there is both wariness and I think a need for people to be respectful of those who want to continue wearing masks and those who don’t want you crowding up on them while you’re at the show.”

Some high school graduations are also scheduled to be held at the venue this week, but some schools aren’t ready to change their plans. Denver schools said it would not change the rules of four guests for graduates. South High School was among those with graduations planned for Red Rocks this week.

Masks are required inside restrooms, the Trading Post, Visitor Center and any indoor area.

Alan Gionet