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County COVID-19 status. The green areas have the fewest restrictions, followed by blue, yellow, then orange. Image courtesy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Gov. Jared Polis' administration on Wednesday removed most state COVID-19 restrictions for nearly half of Colorado.

Why it matters: Colorado is one of 19 states where coronavirus infections are on the rise.

Driving the news: The new "Dial 3.0" public health order means 28 counties are now at Level Green, the lowest mark signifying 35 cases or less per 100,000 residents and sufficient hospital capacity.

The state-level rules that no longer apply include:

  • Mask requirements, which counties can lift after approval from state public health officials.
  • Distancing or capacity limits at restaurants, offices, gyms and retail stores.

The only remaining statewide restrictions cap capacity at bars, indoor events and group sports at 50% or 500 people, whichever is less.

State of play: The new orders also reduced restrictions at other levels and made it easier for counties to reach them.

  • For Level Blue counties, bars can open for the first time.

The big picture: The shift is Polis' first move toward putting counties in control of public health restrictions for good.

  • The new order remains in place until mid-April when the state will retire the "dial" guidance entirely.
  • The statewide mask order stands until April 3, and Polis is considering whether to eliminate it.

Between the lines: Polis never wanted to implement the stay-at-home order that came a year ago Thursday nor the other pandemic restrictions on businesses.

  • Since then, he's moved as quickly as possible to lift the limits and touted his decision to reopen the state's economy before most states.

For more stories like this, sign up for the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

Wealthy Florida seniors got more COVID vaccines when supply was scarce

People in cars wait to receive vaccines at a drive-thru vaccination site at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Florida Department of Health data through February showed residents aged 65+ in the top third of counties ranked by median income were vaccinated at a rate more than 4% higher than seniors in the rest of the state, according to an analysis by Dan DeLuca at the Fort Myers News-Press.

  • By the numbers: That equates to about 290,000 more doses delivered to wealthier seniors.

The big picture: Senior vaccination rates across Florida counties are tied more closely to wealth than in any other state for which similar data is available.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Mar 24, 2021 - Axios Denver

The top trends Denver VCs are watching for 2021

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Despite a year of twists and turns, optimism reigns throughout Colorado’s venture capital industry, with local investors eager to capitalize on new opportunities accelerated by the pandemic.

We asked two local VCs to share what trends they’re watching closely this year and beyond. Here’s the actionable intelligence they shared:

What happens now that emergency orders are lifting

Expand chart
Data: National Academy for State Health Policy and various governor declarations; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Soon, more than half the states will have ended their formal emergency declarations for the pandemic — which could have ripple effects across the economy.

Why it matters: Lifting those orders will allow businesses to serve more customers, but will also end certain safety nets, including expanded food and housing assistance, as well as eviction protections.