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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Denver’s elected officials are advancing a controversial plan that would require landlords to obtain a permit to lease long-term rental property in the city, starting next year.

Why it matters: The city lacks a database to track how many long-term rentals are in Denver, and a new licensing program would fix that, Council President Stacie Gilmore says.

  • Knowing the number of rentals is critical to solving the city’s affordable housing crisis, proponents argue.

Yes, but: Landlords are likely to pass the costs of required inspections and licensing to tenants who are already struggling to get by in a high-priced market.

  • "So it’s not really helping the tenants," said William Bronchick, president of the Colorado Landlords Association.
  • A Gilmore spokesperson disputed the notion, telling Axios that the proposal would keep application and license fees low, essentially requiring a payment of $225 over four years.

Of note: The plan would mark one of the largest licensing expansions in Denver history and require new hires to ensure compliance, Excise and Licenses Department spokesman Eric Escudero tells Axios.

  • Denver has an estimated 50,000+ rental properties that would need licenses, he said. That's eight times as many as the largest category the agency currently regulates.

The big picture: The proposal, which will be voted on by the full council in the coming weeks, has the backing of Hancock’s administration, spokesperson Mike Strott tells Axios.

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Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Apr 14, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado prepares to lift most COVID restrictions by May 16

Expand chart
Data: JHU; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Denver area is dialing back COVID-19 restrictions and preparing to completely reopen in May — but some counties are moving faster and others are expressing concern about the pace.

Driving the news: Six counties — Denver, Jefferson, Boulder, Adams and Broomfield — are easing public health limits by moving to "Level Blue," even as case counts remain elevated.

CDC says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

The CDC announced in new guidance Thursday that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

What they're saying: "If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will say at a White House press briefing.

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom

Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline paid hackers linked to the DarkSide cybercrime group nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency after last week's ransomware attack, Bloomberg first reported and the New York Times confirmed.

Why it matters: The breach of the largest refined fuels pipeline in the U.S. triggered new concerns about the vulnerability of the country's increasingly digitized energy systems.