When news broke yesterday that the Colorado Rockies had received permission from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to host fans starting on opening day – 12,500, or 25-percent of Coors Field capacity – I, like many of you out there, immediately thought: OK, what about the Avs and Denver Nuggets, at Ball Arena? When can we maybe expect some fans to be let in there?
So, I asked the CDPHE today that very question, and here’s an answer I got back from an official there:
“At this time, neither the Colorado Avalanche or the Denver Nuggets have submitted a request to allow fans at their games. As a result, they need to adhere to the specific guidelines for their governing body and specifications in public health orders,” said spokesman Brian Spencer of CDPHE.
Well, then. One of my oldest sayings, and something I tell young journalism aspirants all the time is: You don’t get if you don’t ask. So, I guess nobody from Kroenke Sports has, you know, asked permission from the state governing body that could approve such a request.
Hey, maybe KSE doesn’t want the extra cash or the boost from the fans that they might give to their home teams (that’s a joke). Or, more likely, it’s something that 1. Slipped through the cracks or 2. Maybe they just didn’t know they could apply for such a thing yet. 3. Something more technical that maybe we still don’t know about yet (costs, liability, etc. etc.).
But several other NHL teams are announcing that fans will soon be allowed back in their buildings, including those in New York and Boston, and several teams already are allowing some fans in the building – including tonight’s Avs opponent, the Arizona Coyotes. Denver has better Covid numbers than either of those two cities, by the way. Boston currently has a seven-day average of a little more than 1,700 new Covid cases, while Denver is a little more than 1,000. The average in New York is more than 7,300.
It seems as if CDPHE would certainly consider such a request anyway. After all, they’ve given permission to the Rockies to have fans at games two months from now – a month before the Avs and Nuggets are slated to end their regular seasons.
*UPDATE: Altitude TV tonight put Matt Bell, vice president of venue booking for Kroenke Sports, on between intermission of the Avs-Coyotes game to answer to this story.
Bell acknowledged that KSE has not applied for a “variance” with the CDPHE to get fans back, but he said it’s because the city and county of Denver remains on “yellow on the Covid dial” and therefore is unable to ask.
“Due to Denver County and the city of Denver still falling in to the level of yellow for the Colorado Covid dial, we are unable to apply for a variance at this time,” Bell told Altitude.
I’ll follow up more with the CDPHE on this. Plenty of restaurants in the city and county of Denver are allowing customers inside their venues, along with plenty of stores that are inside-only.
I did look up what it takes to get off of Yellow to Blue – a less restrictive color on the Denver Covid dial – and this is what is reported on the CDPHE website:
- New cases: How much the virus is circulating in a county.
- Percent positivity: Whether there is sufficient COVID-19 testing to capture the level of virus transmission.
- Impact on hospitalizations: Whether hospitalizations are increasing, stable, or declining.
To move to a less restrictive level (e.g., Level Yellow to Blue), counties need to meet and sustain all three metrics for one week. Counties must engage in a consultation process with CDPHE, which may entail moving to a more restrictive level when they are out of compliance with any of the metrics for more than one week.
In all three categories, the numbers have gone down in recent weeks. New case number numbers are about a third of what they were at the start of last month.