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Weld County already has emergency money Polis threatened to withhold

Weld County, which is allowing all businesses to reopen despite a state order, already received more than $200,000 in COVID-19 emergency preparedness money.

DENVER — Colorado has tied compliance to the state's "Safer at Home" executive order to funding that can help counties pay for COVID-19 response.

Gov. Jared Polis' "Safer at Home" executive order, which spells out the timeline that businesses can start to re-open, went into effect on Monday.

Retail stores can start to offer curbside pickup and real estate showings can start again, except in counties that have kept the stricter "Stay at Home" order. Those include Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder and Jefferson counties, where orders will not relaxed until after May 8.

On May 1, under the statewide order, retail and personal services can open up while practicing social distancing -- this includes salons and massage therapy.

On May 4, non-critical offices can re-open at 50 percent.

If a county allows businesses to open faster than this timeline, without prior approval from the state, Gov. Jared Polis has said that those counties risk COVID-19 emergency preparedness funding.

Weld County Commissioners have said that they were not the ones to tell a business to close and that they are not the ones to tell a business to open. If Weld County businesses do as they choose, the county health department could be punished, and those business owners could risk losing their business license.

Turns out, the Weld County Public Health Department has already received COVID-19 emergency preparedness grant money.

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According to spokesman Eric Aakko, the county received $209,500 for salaries, equipment and personal protective equipment.

"We did not ask for the funds, per se. They just came," Aakko said.

He also said that the county is not planning to ask for more.

The Centers for Disease Control provided funds to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in two installments, so far.

The CDC provided $9,331,323 to be available as of March 16, and another $3,589,716 that became available on April 6. In total, CDPHE received $12,921,039.

Weld County received $209,500 of that.

Tri-County Public Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, received $829,361.

"These dollars are one time funding to help support both staffing and operating costs related to this very extensive response," said spokeswoman Samantha Decker.

Denver's Department of Public Health and Environment received $417,953.

Boulder County Public Health received $225,044.

"The award was not requested by Boulder County Public Health, but given as a Purchase Order for COVID-19 emergency response as a grant to request reimbursement on COVID-related costs," said spokeswoman Chana Goussetis. "The funds are to be allocated at the discretion of each local public health department for their highest priority; we are using the entire award for wages."

The CDC has distributed $754,822,380 toward COVID-19 emergency response.

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