Gov. Polis announces statewide stay-at-home order amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 4:53 PM MDT
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On Wednesday Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The order will officially go into effect starting Thursday, March 26th at 6 a.m. and will continue through at least Saturday April 11. The Governor does have the ability to modify, rescind or extend the order.

“Why now? We requested that Coloradans follow this step and we cut down work place density. And while social isolation has increased and distancing has increased, it’s not yet reached the number that we need to save lives and contain the spread of the virus,” said Governor Polis in a press conference on Wednesday.

The order says that all Coloradans should not be leaving their homes except for critical activities listed below.

Businesses that are deemed critical may remain open but must comply with social distancing requirements. All businesses except those defined as critical will temporarily close their facilities.

The order also says that all public and private gatherings are prohibited. All travel is prohibited except for those listed below.

According to our sister station KUSA, this is what will be open and closed and these are the circumstances residents can leave their homes under the order.

When residents can leave the house:

• Activities or tasks essential to one's health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members.

• Obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others.

• Going outside for walking, hiking, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, biking or running.

• Performing work providing essential products and services for a critical business.

• Caring for a family member, a vulnerable person, or pet in another household, or to care for livestock kept at a location other than an individual’s home.

• Going to or from educational facilities to support distance learning or to get meals or related services.

• Non-residents returning home

• Travel required by law enforcement or court order.

Allowed health-care operations, as an employee or patient:

• Hospitals, clinics and walk-in health facilities.

• Medical and dental care.

• Research and laboratory services.

• Medical wholesale and distribution.

• Home health-care companies, workers and aides.

• Pharmacies.

• Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

• Behavioral health-care providers.

• Nursing homes, residential health care and congregate care facilities.

• Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers.

• Veterinary care, livestock services.

• Blood banks

Essential services and businesses that may remain open:

• Grocery stores, all food and beverage stores including liquor stores, and farm and produce stands.

• Gas stations and convenience stores.

• Restaurants and bars for take-out/delivery only.

• Food banks.

• Marijuana dispensaries for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery.

• Child care facilities. Child care must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day). Child care workers should remain solely with one group of children. To the extent possible, child care shall be performed in compliance with social distancing requirements.

• Firearms stores.

• Hardware, farm supply, and building material stores.

• Establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other household consumer products.

• Establishments engaged in the sale of products that support working from home.

• Utilities, including power generation, fuel supply and transmission.

• Roads and railways.

• Oil and gas extraction, production, refining, storage, transport and distribution.

• Public water and wastewater.

• Hotels and other places of accommodation.

• Construction for housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people.

• Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers.

• Firms and professionals who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences, and other essential services.

• Trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal.

• Mail and shipping services, and locations that offer P.O. boxes.

• Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, including freight distributors.

• Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries.

• In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end-of-life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatest extent possible.

• Financial institutions including banks, credit institutions, insurance, payroll services, accounting services and services related to financial markets.

• Telecommunications and data centers.

• News media.

• Animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities.

• Self-serve laundromats and garment and linen cleaning services for critical businesses.

• Homeless shelters.

• Human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in State-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in State-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support.

• Building cleaning and maintenance.

• Law enforcement.

• Fire prevention and response.

• Building code enforcement.

• Security.

• Emergency management and response.

• Disinfection.

• Snow removal.

• Automobile rental, auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships that include repair and maintenance, but not retail sales)

• Transportation and infrastructure necessary to support critical businesses.

• Businesses and organizations that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged, persons with access and functional needs, or otherwise needy individuals.

• Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain.

• Chemical manufacturing.

• Computer and computer component manufacturing.

• Medical equipment, components used in any medical device, supplies or instruments.

• Defense, security, and intelligence-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor for any of the foregoing.

• Aerospace operations.

• Military operations and personnel.

• Defense suppliers.

• Pharmaceuticals manufacturing.

• Sanitary product manufacturing.

• Household paper product manufacturing.

• Microelectronics/semiconductor manufacturing.

• Any manufacturing necessary to support a critical business.

• Storage for critical businesses.

Each of these businesses must comply with social distancing requirements, which includes: maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other individuals; washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer; covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands); regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces; and not shaking hands.

Grand Junction Police Department Chief Doug Shoemaker says the department anticipates more details to come about what this means for our area and how police will enforce the order.

“I think what we all want is for everybody to just comply with the orders. Will we get calls about that kind of thing? The reality is yes we are. But we have to triage the calls that we get within the communication center for things that are really in progress that may affect people’s lives, that may affect immediate threat to property or life and those calls come first. So we need everybody to work together on this thing,” says Chief Shoemaker.

Gov. Polis also released direction to law enforcement agencies on their protocol, saying their guidance includes “increased use of warnings or summons in lieu of arrest when public safety is not at risk”.

“I think we are absolutely in a stage where we want to educate people and so this will be a certainly part of what we do moving forward is to continually educate as to the ‘why’. Why is this important to stay at home as much as possible,” says Chief Shoemaker.

We will continue to update this information as more details are released.

To see Executive Order: