DENVER — Colorado's Gov. Jared Polis in a news conference Monday said bars and restaurants across the state will offer takeout and delivery only for 30 days and larger gathering places like theaters and casinos will close to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Polis acknowledged there are 160 cases of the virus in Colorado, up 29 from Sunday. He said there are likely more than 1,000 cases across the state that haven’t been diagnosed.
"Our goal is to flatten the curve," he said.
Polis said 50 new nurses were deployed in Colorado from the Freedom Healthcare staffing company. He also said retired nurses, doctors, pharmacists and EMTs can contact their former employers to possibly work.
Colorado is adopting CDC guidance in real-time, he said, meaning any recommendations from the CDC, Colorado will likely adopt.
Bars and restaurants
Polis acknowledged the 12,000 bars and restaurants across the state and the economic impact the businesses will see. He also said more than 240,000 people work in the industry.
He said employees affected can apply for unemployment benefits and businesses can take measures to avoid lay-offs through the state's work-share program.
New temporary jobs and volunteer opportunities will be listed on the state’s website: connectingcolorado.com
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock earlier Monday mandated all bars and restaurants in the city and county close in-house seating and move to carry-out and delivery only for eight weeks.
"People need to get places," Polis said about public transportation, including health workers getting to work.
He directed questions about RTD and public transportation to those departments.
All DMV's in the state will also close. Online services will be available.
Large gathering areas
Casinos, theaters and gyms will also close, Polis said.
Penn National Gaming, which has 41 properties and casinos in 19 states, had no plans to close as of late Monday morning but under the new mandate, those plans will change.
Polis announced the new social media initiative #doingmypartCO and ask for Coloradans to share what they are doing to practice social distancing.
He suggested people challenge five friends to do the same in an effort to unite the state in its battle against COVID-19.
Polis gave suggestions for people to do while quarantined or practicing social distancing including hiking, reading and board games. He also said people should be aware of their mental health, taking breaks from consuming media about the outbreak. That's his job, he said.
Polis asked that people "take it easy" on the supermarkets and to not panic buy or overbuy.
"The supply chain is safe," he said. "We don’t want to cause our own problem."
He said there are plenty of supplies in stores and this situation will only last months, not years.
Earlier on Monday, President Donald Trump said his administration’s focus is on stemming the virus. Once the spread of the virus is stopped, Trump said he believes the U.S. economy will see a “tremendous, tremendous surge.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 11% Monday afternoon.
The president also is pledging federal support for airlines struggling because of the pandemic, saying he’s “going to back the airlines 100%.”
Trump also says governors that need ventilators, respirators, masks and other equipment for medical professionals should first try to acquire the items on their own before turning to the federal government for help.
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