The revision of the dial to create Level Red was itself indication of the elasticity of the rules: If the state had strictly followed the dial in recent weeks, many counties would already be under stay-at-home orders.
High schools are suggested to use hybrid or remote learning.
Routt County will move into Level Red - "Severe Risk" - on Colorado's new COVID-19 dial framework Friday, shutting down restaurants for inside dining, decreasing capacity at offices and gyms and entirely limiting personal gatherings.
The county's variances on state-mandated restrictions are cancelled.
Those counties reach Level Red on Sunday.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Thursday several counties will move to stricter levels on the COVID-19 dial.
Polis held a news conference via Facebook Live to make the announcement as well as call a special session in the state Legislature, which is targeted at COVID-19 relief. "The state is not requiring counties to go to that level".
Level red also would force restaurants to implement an 8 p.m. last call and only seat customers that are within the same household group, according to a handout given to journalists attending the conference. On Tuesday, they learned from the state that they - as well as their counterparts in Garfield and Eagle counties - do not have to adopt the new restrictions. By revising the dial, the state protected counties from a full lockdown.
"There is a risk everywhere in our entire state", he said.
Eagle County has indicated they will move in Orange restrictions, he said later Tuesday.
Counties have been placed in various levels of restrictions in the state's dial based on three metrics: new case count, positivity rate and hospitalization level.
Between 10 and 15 counties "could potentially move into Red level restrictions", which will go into effect Friday, Johnston said. But state health officials added another Level Purple "Stay at Home Ordered", which is effectively what Level Red used to be.
The complete list of counties has not yet been announced, because according to Polis those discussions are still happening at the local level. But Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who was also in attendance, said, "We expect to be there", when asked if Denver will be one of the areas included.
"Beyond the Orange level, there's been some reticence to go to a stay at home order or this new level", he said. "We have more testing and knowledge than we did in April, but today transmission is greater, cases are higher, and our hospitals are really feeling the impact".
"There's only so many beds in the system - ICU and non ICU", Polis said.