DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) provided an update Monday afternoon to outline the guidelines for life during the "safer-at-home" period in Colorado.
The "safer-at-home" period is a more sustainable way of living for Coloradans while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more Coloradans to return to work," the governor's office said on Sunday.
The order went into effect on Monday, April 27, and is tentatively set to expire 30 days from then.
Coloradans should continue staying home as much as possible. The order also directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home, only leaving when absolutely necessary.
"For the vast majority of us, this new phase won’t look much different than the last," Polis said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon. "This new safer at home phase is meant to establish a level of social distancing that can be sustained for a longer period of time. It will allow us to gradually relax some of these restrictions on our economy and our society while protecting our health care system and our most vulnerable residents."
Polis said the state's safer-at-home order is now in place because of the actions taken by Coloradans to slow the spread of novel coronavirus as well as the state's ability to obtain PPE for health care workers, additional hospital beds and other equipment.
New data shows a significant drop in new cases, Polis said, and hospitalization, while lagging, is a more concrete indicator of where we are. Colorado has fewer hospitalizations than it did a week ago, he said.
However, Polis said, if Coloradans let up and don't maintain preventive measures now in place, it's likely additional restrictions will have to come back.
Polis said under the statewide stay-at-home order, which expired April 26, the state reached about 75% to 80% social distancing.
Polis said many retail stores will open on Friday, May 1, with spacing that adheres to the 6-foot rule, one-way aisles, decals on the floor and employees wearing face masks.
Restaurants can continue pickup and delivery, there is no date yet on when in-house dining can resume. Nightclubs, gyms, spas will also remain closed.
Under the safer-at-home model, the public is:
- Encouraged to stay at home unless necessary.
- Strongly advised to wear face coverings when out.
- No gatherings over 10 people.
- Sick people may not go to work.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
Changes happening during the safer-at-home period will be phased in, with different changes going into effect April 27, May 1, and May 4. More details can be found here.
Polis said businesses risk losing licenses if they open early.
Monday, April 27
Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery. Real estate home showings can resume. Voluntary or elective medical, dental, and veterinary surgeries and procedures may resume if facilities are following required safety protocols.
Secondary education that needs to have in-person instruction can resume.
Friday, May 1
Retail businesses can phase-in a public opening if they are implementing best practices.
Personal services can open if they are implementing best practices.
Monday, May 4
Offices can reopen at 50% reduced in-person staffing capacity, if best practices are being implemented to protect the health and safety of employees. Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting at higher levels if possible. Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following safer-at-home requirements
Polis in the Monday news conference said because Colorado is diverse and some areas are seeing little to no cases, local jurisdictions have options for how to move forward:
- Match the state's safer-at-home guidelines
- Implement more protections (Denver's stay-at-home order is in place until May 8)
- Local flexibility (fewer restrictions, requires a waiver)
"We can’t go back to the way things were in January or February of this year," Polis said in his emailed statement. "The brutal, honest truth is that we will likely need to maintain some level of distancing in our society until there’s a cure or a vaccine for COVID-19. That could take months, even years. And if we relax restrictions too quickly, we will lose the progress we have made, and we may overwhelm our hospital system, causing hundreds, if not thousands, of unnecessary deaths."
COVID-19 background information
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 January.
On March 5, the first case was announced in Colorado. Since then, 12,968 people have tested positive for the disease and 672 people have died.
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