Stating his frustration with young people getting drunk in social settings and increasing the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday ordered that last call for alcohol at establishments statewide shall, for the next 30 days, be 10 p.m.
The usual last-call time in Colorado is 2 a.m., and Polis also said that, in non-virus times, he disagrees with that rule. He called upon the state legislature to allow local communities to set their own rules and, say, let bars and restaurants serve until 4 a.m. if that’s what local officials deem appropriate.
“We have a very bad law in Colorado that says last call has to be 2 a.m. I don’t know why,” Polis said. “This is simply saying instead of 2, temporarily, last call is 10 p.m.”
But now is not the time to relax the rules, he said. The 20-29 age group is leading the spread of infection in Colorado, the state reports, and overall virus cases and hospitalizations have roughly doubled in the last two weeks.
“We want to send the right message here,” Polis said at a news conference Monday, defending his last-call order, “as well as directly impact the piece that’s occurring as a result of late-night inhibitions.”
Colorado has not seen exponential recent virus spread like Arizona, Texas and others, but it’s nearing a tipping point and public health experts here expect the state’s ICU bed capacity could be exceeded come September.
Polis, who last week ordered everyone in Colorado to wear a mask until at least mid-August, said that discouraging socializing among “inebriated” people in larger groups is a key step in the effort to avert the tipping point.
“The state of inebriation in a public place is inconsistent with social distancing,” he said.
He urged people against partying in larger groups.
“Just have four of your besties over,” Polis said.
Directing addressing young people, Polis also said, “This is not the summer to party. It’s the summer of no parties.”
Polis previously had ordered bars to close again in Colorado because of the rising case numbers, but those that serve food may stay open, as restaurants can, and there are counties that have variances allowing them to keep bars open as well.
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