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Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Rise and shine, Denver, 

I need some new sunnies y'all, 'cause I think that's light I see at the end of the tunnel. With the latest news on vaccine availability (see below) and our recent cash injection from the American Rescue Plan, it sure feels like we're on the upswing. And speaking of our precious stimulus reserves, Gov. Jared Polis made the first stop on his Build Back Stronger tour Sunday, and he'll be headed our way soon. Submit your ideas on how he should spend our stimulus money and find the tour listening schedule right here.
 
—Peyton Garcia (@peytonmgarcia)
Denver enters Phase 2 of vaccination rollout. [Photo by Michael Ciaglo via Getty Images]

Weather Check: 🥶 You knew better than to put those coats and beanies away. In true Denver weather fashion, we're looking at snowfall early this morning despite yesterday's foray into the 70s. 

🔊 What's Denver Talking About?


Phase 2 Vaccine Rollout: Come one, come all...
[Denver Post]

This Friday, April 2, Colorado will move into Phase 2 — the final phase — of its vaccination rollout plan, opening vaccine eligibility to the general public (16 and older). 

BUT before you rush the injection sites, Polis reminded us that there are still supply constraints to contend with. Just because you can get vaccinated by this weekend, it doesn't mean you will. 

It will be mid-to-late May by the time everyone who wants a vaccine will have received one, according to Polis. As of his press conference Monday, nearly 1 million Colorado residents are fully vaccinated. 

"This is a really important step that Colorado will be taking. It doesn't mean that everyone in previous categories has been vaccinated ... but it means we're now reaching this wide level of vaccine distribution." —Gov. Jared Polis


Buuut, while vaccinations have increased, so have case numbers
[Westword]

Last week, Colorado officially shifted gears on the state's COVID-19 dial, loosening restrictions tremendously for things like public gatherings and mask requirements. The statewide mask mandate is also scheduled to expire April 3. And while that might create the illusion of improvement, COVID-19 cases are actually on the rise across Colorado. 

According to data gathered by Westword, in the week between March 21 and March 28, we saw critical jumps in new cases (up nearly 8,000) and hospitalizations (up nearly 350).

In his press conference yesterday announcing Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, Polis also urged people who aren't fully vaccinated to continue to wear their masks and properly social distance. The governor also said he’s probably going to extend the mask mandate an additional two weeks. 

"Every day we’re getting closer to ending the pandemic, but it’s not over yet ... it's more important than ever before to wear masks, to avoid social gatherings." —Gov. Jared Polis

☝️Also This...


A new lay of the land: change in protocols for redistricting
For the first time, Colorado will use a bipartisan panel of commissioners for its decennial redrawing of congressional districts. And the commissioners want your input on the new map. [CBS 4]

A heavy price for a free vaccine... 
During its first weekend in operation, the eagerly awaited mass drive-thru vaccination site at Dick's Sporting Goods Park looked worse than I-25 rush hour. Though promised a 15-30 minute wait time, many visitors sat waiting in their cars for more than three hours. [9 News]

Tay Anderson: "I have to know what I've done" 
Over the weekend, we saw social media explode with the news of sexual assault allegations against Denver school board director Tay Anderson. In an official press conference, Anderson maintained his denial, but reiterated that he welcomes an official investigation. [CO Politics]

🤿 Deep Dive


What is the "red flag" law, and should it have stopped what happened in Boulder?
In the aftermath of the mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder last week, we've noticed a lot more talk about Colorado's red flag law. Put into effect Jan. 1, 2020, the red flag law allows a family member or law enforcement officer to petition for an "extreme risk protection order" if they believe that an individual with access to a firearm poses a significant risk to themselves or others. If the order is granted, the individual in question must then surrender all firearms and is barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm for 365 days. 

Last week's massacre left people wondering: Is this law working? Are people using it? Could it have changed things? This report from Colorado Politics takes a look at these questions and highlights everything you need to know.  

Dive in now.
It’s your turn to share. Have suggestions about a story we should be tracking? Email us at Denver@CityCast.fm.

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