Can you eat at restaurants safely in Colorado? Gov. Polis’ mixed messaging.

This week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis sent a strong message to Coloradans: “Colorado I love you,” he wrote on his social media accounts, “but you have to cancel your social plans the next few weeks.”

That message came days after Denver County declared a 10 p.m. curfew. A week earlier, restaurant capacities were cut in half to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which has reached its highest rate of transmission in Denver and Colorado since the pandemic began. Now local public health officials are urging the state to put in place more aggressive COVID-19 restrictions.

Unlike in March, Polis and the state’s epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy have clarified at the start of the 2020 holiday season that Coloradans can still patronize businesses and dine in at restaurants. Without businesses shut down, the message remains confusing whether it’s safe to go out.

“I think there are some things that are very clear, and then I think that there are some things that are up to individuals’ risk tolerance,” said Dr. Lisa Miller, a professor of epidemiology with the Colorado School of Public Health.

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As of Tuesday, Miller said that at a minimum, Coloradans should avoid “congregating with people outside your own household, indoors, with no mask.” But as far as dining indoors at a restaurant with people from your own household, versus eating outside or getting takeout, “I think that’s where your own risk tolerance comes in,” she explained.