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Polis modifies last call order to 11 p.m.

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Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Last call to buy alcohol at a bar or restaurant in Colorado will now be 11 p.m., Gov. Jared Polis said Friday.

Polis signed an executive order on July 21 that made last call 10 p.m. and restricted indoor capacity at bars and restaurants that serve food, citing younger people going out and “leading this spread” of COVID-19. The governor said Friday the modified order to 11 p.m. takes effect Saturday. 

“I am hopeful that if the data continues to show the trend we have I’m very hopeful that within a month that can then go to midnight,” Polis said.

That initial executive order led to a lawsuit by the trade group Tavern League of Colorado, which argued that the order was “arbitrary and capricious.” A Denver judge later denied a temporary restraining order that would have halted the last call order.

Tavern League Executive Director Stephanie Fransen called the modified order "a step in the right direction" in a statement to The Center Square.

“While The Tavern League would prefer a midnight last call, we are very pleased that 11:00 p.m. is a step in the right direction," she said. "Every hour counts in the fight for economic survival and we greatly appreciate Governor Polis’ efforts to remain flexible during this extremely challenging time.”

Colorado State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said Friday that since the last call order was signed, the state’s data shows “a substantial decrease in the number of cases occurring among 20 to 29 year olds.”  

“That, of course, is the age group that we know that is spending more time in bar-type settings,” she added. 

Polis also reiterated that he’d like to see the statewide last call eventually moved to 4 a.m. once the pandemic passes, which would require legislative action.