DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock and the city of Boulder on Monday announced stay-at-home orders as part of each city's COVID-19 response.
Both orders will be in effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will last through at least April 10.
"If you are sick, stay home," Hancock said. "If you are not sick, you also need to stay home."
Parks will remain open, but organized activities and sports are prohibited. Hancock said the crowded parks in Denver over the weekend helped him make his decision.
- No picnics or organized games in parks.
- No non-essential travel.
- All businesses except those defined as essential will close their facilities. Employees can continue to work from home.
Allowed under the order:
- Getting groceries
- Purchasing liquor and marijuana; stores must adhere to "extreme social distancing"
- Extreme physical distancing includes:
- Maintaining at least 6-foot social distancing from other individuals.
- Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer when hand-sinks are not available, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands).
- Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
- Not shaking hands.
- Extreme physical distancing includes:
- Obtaining medical supplies or medication
- Engaging in outdoor activities like walking, hiking or running, and continuing the strict observance of physical distancing practices, which requires for at least 6 feet between people
On Tuesday afternoon, businesses like the Perfect Petal in Denver were getting ready to close up shop.
“Obviously, with the virus and the stay-at-home policy, all the businesses are just trying to figure out the best next step," said Romina Palacios, manager of the boutique and floral studio.
The shop on 32nd Avenue had been gearing up for its 25th anniversary when COVID-19 changed everything.
“We have always had floral delivery options online, but in the last week, we’ve frantically gotten all of our hard goods at our retail shop photographed," Palacios said.
For the foreseeable future, Perfect Petal will be relying on those online sales and flower delivery to keep afloat.
Pitkin County also announced a stay-at-home order on Monday that went into effect immediately.
The order asks people to remain at home, directs tourists visiting the area to head home and closes non-essential businesses. Essential businesses are directed to comply with social distancing and other prevention techniques at all times.
Hancock said the challenge in Denver is that city is the densest area in the state and has the highest number is cases in the state. Because of that, the City and County of Denver needs to take extra steps to protect public health and safety, he said. He added that Denver hospitals support much of the state, including people in mountain towns and on the eastern plains.
Denver's order bars picnics and organized games in parks, as well as nonessential travel. Residents can leave their homes to exercise, but must stay six feet apart.
Denver is utilizing a variety of city staff – including park rangers, safety officers and public health officials – to do proactive patrols of parks and recreation areas, businesses and neighborhoods.
Anyone found to violate the orders will be educated about the public health order to achieve compliance and discourage future violations, according to city officials.
They will track those violations and continued violations by individuals and groups will result in citations.
Hancock said he's asking for voluntary compliance in Denver.
"This is not a recommendation," he said. "This is an order."
Hancock said this is not about arresting people. Instead, the goal is to educate people, but further action will be taken if someone is purposely defying the order with no good reason.
“People need to take social distancing seriously to stop the spread of this virus,” said Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam. “We have asked everyone to maintain at least six feet between individuals and not to gather in groups. Voluntary measures are not enough, and we must enact a stay at home order for everything but the most essential activities if we are to flatten the curve and stop the social spread of COVID-19.”
The announcements comes one day after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered non-critical places of employment to reduce in-person workforce by 50% at the minimum. He said employers can do this by allowing people to work from home or stagger schedules to limit the number of people in the workplace at a time.
Polis said he supports Hancock's efforts. In a release after the mayor's announcement, Polis said, "it’s extremely important that just as our state is acting boldly and urgently, that our county health departments are also taking strong actions guided by science, data, and the real-life situation on the ground including taking into account local factors like population density and concentration of Coronavirus cases, to best contain the spread of the virus. Thank you to Mayor Hancock and other local leaders making strong moves to reduce the spread of the virus in communities across our state.”
This month, Polis ordered the closure of many businesses across the state, including restaurants (which still offer takeout, delivery and alcohol sales), gyms, nail salons, salons and barber shops, tattoo parlors, and massage parlors.
Polis also ordered non-essential medical procedures to be postponed. Schools and ski areas are also closed.
Health officials and political leaders have said the goal is to socially isolate people in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus before medical systems become overwhelmed by hospitalizations and deaths.
Health officials announced Colorado's first presumed positive case on Thursday, March 5. Since then, numerous other presumed positive cases have been confirmed. The results for anyone tested at a local level are considered “presumptive positive” until the CDC confirms the cases.
NUMBERS: Colorado COVID-19 cases: March 23-25
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, China in late 2019. This new strain of coronavirus began popping up in the United States in February.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
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