Gov. Polis Provides Update to Coloradans on State Response to COVID-19

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

DENVER - Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on how the state is responding to COVID-19 and provided further clarification on what the Safer-at-Home phase of the pandemic will look like for Coloradans. 

“I want to reiterate, the Safer-at-Home phase is not going back to life as normal. It’s not a major adjustment from where we have been,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Safer-at-Home means most Coloradans should continue to limit social interactions to the greatest extent possible to just individuals in your household and wear facial masks when you are out. I’m proud of how Colorado has come together during this difficult period to stay home as much as possible, protecting ourselves and our neighbors. But we still have work to do - we are not through the woods yet.”

The goal of the Safer-at-Home phase is to maintain 60-65% physical distancing. This means:

  • Vulnerable populations and older adults must stay home unless absolutely necessary. 

  • No group gatherings of more than 10 people. 

  • Critical businesses will remain open with strict precautions (social distancing, masks for all employees, more frequent cleanings, etc.)

  • Retail businesses may open for curbside delivery and phased-in public opening with strict precautions.

  • Nightclubs, gyms and spas will remain closed. 

  • Elective medical and dental procedures begin, with strict precautions to ensure adequate personal protective equipment and the ability to meet critical care needs. 

  • Personal services (salons, tattoo parlors, dog grooming, personal training, etc.) will open with strict precautions. 

  • K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction for the 2019-2020 school year.  

  • Telecommuting continues for offices. Starting on May 4, up to 50% of staff can work in person (with social distancing in place).

  • The state is not changing requirements for nursing homes and other senior care facilities. There will continue to be restrictions on visiting residents.

The Safer-at-Home phase is not:

  • A free-for-all

  • An opportunity to leave the house as much as possible and spread the virus to others

  • An excuse to not wear a facial covering, or begin giving hugs or handshakes 

  • Going to the mountains to spend the weekend 

  • Conducting unnecessary travel

  • Having parties or get togethers

  • Playing in pick up sports games 

In the coming days, further guidance will be provided to a variety of affected industries including retail, offices, elective medical and dental services, child care, education, personal services, and real estate. 

The Governor also provided guidance and best practices for non-critical workplaces, including their employees and customers. Non-critical workplaces should be operating at no more than 50% in-person capacity and should allow employees to telework whenever possible. For more details on best practices, view the Governor’s presentation

Under the Safer-at-Home phase, local governments will have a variety of options when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities. 

  • Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer-at-Home to match the state.

  • Local governments can go farther than the state, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.

  • Local governments can relax guidelines more than the state. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction and elected leadership.

Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 041 today extending the suspension of normal in-person instruction at all public and private elementary and secondary schools in the State until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. This order does not affect plans for the 2020-2021 school year. 

To learn more about the Safer-at-Home phase of the pandemic and a tentative timeline, view the Governor’s presentation here and a one-pager here. To view the Governor’s news conference, click here