Aug 23, 2021 - Business

Delta threatens Denver's rebound

Illustration of a warning sign made of the letter delta and an exclamation point inside it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The surge of new coronavirus cases and concerns about Delta's transmissibility are threatening to upend the return to "normalcy" we've all been looking forward to.

State of play: Companies and institutions are reevaluating return-to-office plans and COVID-prevention policies as the bounce back many industry leaders anticipated this summer appears to have fallen short.

By the numbers: Vacancies in Denver’s office buildings still remain up by 4% compared with the same period in 2019, according to data provided to Axios by Colliers International.

  • Convention bookings at the Colorado Convention Center have been reduced by nearly 70% as of Aug. 13, due in large part to the pandemic. Although the city hasn’t seen a major wave of convention cancelations because of the latest surge, at least 45 conventions have been nixed this year, according to Visit Denver, the city’s tourism arm.
  • OpenTable, a popular restaurant reservation system, reports that the number of diners at Colorado restaurants remained down by an average of 6% through Aug. 9, compared to the same point in 2019.

Already in the Denver metro area and elsewhere in Colorado, we're having 2020 deja vu as some big entertainers rethink their fall concerts because of the surge.

  • The Bohemian Light Music Festival in Fort Collins scheduled earlier this month was canceled due to "rapid spread of the Delta variant," the Denver Post reports.
  • Stevie Nicks also backed out of her upcoming performances, including at the Jazz Aspen Festival in September, due to coronavirus concerns, per the AP.

The big picture: Throughout the summer, vaccinations have slowed and we have yet to reach "herd immunity."

  • There isn't a mask mandate in Colorado or Denver anymore, and the highly contagious Delta variant is fueling a spike in cases and hospitalizations among unvaccinated individuals.

Reality check: We're still in a much better place than we were last year.

Yes, but: Children under 12 remain vulnerable. Back-to-school season, combined with more of us heading indoors, could lead to another bump.

The bottom line: We haven't fully recovered since the pandemic first hit, and the threat of another wave could have major implications for fall and across multiple industries.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that vacancies in Denver office buildings remain up by 4% (not down).


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