Governor Polis Provides Update on COVID-19 & Announces Special Legislative Session to Help Provide COVID Relief

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

DENVER -  Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Polis was joined today by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Speaker-designate Alec Garnett.

“This isn’t just a problem in someone else’s community. It’s right here in our own backyard,” said Governor Polis. “It is my greatest hope that these swift actions can do what we need them to do: prevent the need for further restrictions to avoid overwhelming our hospitals, and make it possible to get our kids back in school over the next few weeks and months. Coloradans must avoid in-person personal gatherings to save lives. The changes we’re implementing are not just important for public health, but also for our economy. The steps we outlined today in partnership with the legislature help us take care of our own by assisting small businesses, expanding access to child care, providing rental assistance, and increasing broadband access for students and educators.” 

CDPHE is making updates to the Red level of the dial that will ask Coloradans to avoid all interactions with people outside of their households to help lower transmission rates.  Read about these updates here. The updated dial will be effective Friday, November 20, 2020. 

Counties in the Red level will be considered at severe risk and will be subject to updated restrictions, including:

  • Indoor dining is temporarily closed. Restaurants and coffee shops can still offer take out and delivery, and they can offer outdoor dining with a last call at 8 pm, but only to customers in groups with members of their own household. Bars remain closed.  
  • Gyms can operate at 10% capacity or allow up to 10 people per room with reservations. They can also operate outdoors in groups of up to 10 people.
  • In-person personal gatherings are not permitted 
  • All gatherings between households of any size in any location, public or private should not be taking place while your county is in the severe risk phase
  • All at-risk populations are recommended to stay at home

Gov. Polis also said his office is working with CDE and CDPHE to provide additional federal resources to assist school districts to safely return to in-person learning, including funding for outdoor classrooms, testing, and additional PPE and supplies.

Gov. Polis commended Denver Mayor Michael Hancock today who has been a strong partner on combating the spread of the virus.

Governor Polis announced that he will be calling the legislature into a special session in the near future to provide immediate relief to the economic and financial hardships that many Coloradans are facing. The Governor said that he will be asking the General Assembly to take up critical legislation that will help Colorado families and small businesses during the challenging winter months ahead.  While  specific parameters for the special session are still being confirmed, it will include the following items: 

  • A small business relief package with direct aid and tax relief
  • Housing and rental assistance 
  • Support for child care providers 
  • Expanding broadband access to students and educators

The Governor thanked Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Speaker-designate Alec Garnett, as well as other members of the leadership and the Joint Budget Committee for their partnership, and commitment to delivering relief now. 

“This epidemic has torn through our country with unmatched aggression and unrelenting persistence. It has claimed the lives of more than 247,000 Americans and left families ripped apart. Yet the loss of life is only one piece of the devastation. People have lost their jobs, their life savings, their family businesses, and not least of all their hope. These Coloradans cannot wait another moment, and neither should we. We need to act urgently to bring relief to the people of our state. So we have decided to pull every lever, find every dime, and use every tool in our toolbox to make it happen,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo.

“With COVID-19 cases reaching daily new records and winter just around the corner, Coloradans can’t wait any longer for Congress to provide relief--they need us to act now to help small businesses, families and students get through the challenging months ahead,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “In partnership with the governor, we will convene a special legislative session to pass a relief package that supports jobs, helps Coloradans avoid eviction or foreclosure, and expands access to safe child care options.” 

“After passing a robust COVID relief package this spring and working with the governor to provide $375 in one-time support to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, we’re ready to get back to work to support small businesses and the Coloradans who have been hit hardest by this pandemic,” said Speaker-designate Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “We need an economic recovery where every Coloradan has a fair shot, but this can’t happen if restaurants and bars close, families lose their homes, students can’t get online, and day care centers shutter. We need to act now to bridge the gap where Washington has failed, or our economy will falter.”

CDPHE also provided guidance to the General Assembly today to convene as safely as possible.

Watch today’s news conference