A new business variance program for Larimer County was approved just before 1 p.m. on December 23. Based off of a similar model in Mesa County, Level Up means certified, inspected businesses can operate at a Level Orange capacity, even though the county is still in Level Red. Yes, that means indoor dining again, and last call moving up to 10 p.m.

'We are thrilled that Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Larimer County Commissioners and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) provided this opportunity for business to reopen safely,'  Ann Hutchison, Executive Vice President of the Fort Collins Area Chamber, said in a press release. 'This could make the difference between survival and closure for so many of our business partners.

Hutchison thanked the local Health Department staff and their partners throughout Northern Colorado for making the variance program possible. With this phase of Level Up, restaurants can shift back to a 25 percent or 50 person capacity.

According to the release, 40 businesses in Larimer County have already competed applications, and will get final inspections December 23. Another 20 are expected to be processed next week, too.

Businesses can apply to be included in the variance program here, and as for us? We just have to do our part to keep Larimer County's COVID-19 cases at a 'two-week sustained decline,' and keep the positivity percentage and hospitalizations down.

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