Update on State’s Response to COVID-19

Thursday, March 12, 2020

DENVER - On Tuesday, Gov. Polis declared a state of emergency in response to the presence of coronavirus disease 2019 in Colorado (COVID-19). The declaration will help ensure resources are available to the State to combat COVID-19. The Governor has urged Coloradans to exercise personal responsibility to protect public health, especially vulnerable populations like older Coloradans and those with underlying health conditions.


"Our state is responding to this virus by taking bold action to protect our most vulnerable populations, said Governor Polis. “We will continue working together to put health and safety first and be guided by science. Colorado is in this together.”


Details of the executive order: 

  • Directs Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to engage in emergency rulemaking to ensure workers in the following industries get paid sick leave if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work while they await testing results for COVID-19: leisure and hospitality, food services, child care, education at all levels, home health care, operating a nursing home, or operating a community living facility.
  • For workers who test positive and lack access to paid leave, directs CDLE to identify additional supports and wage replacement such as access to emergency unemployment assistance.  These steps are especially important for those who work with vulnerable populations like older Coloradans and those with underlying health issues. When those workers lack access to paid sick leave, it poses a great risk to our ability to protect the public.
  • Directs the Department of Revenue to temporarily allow Coloradans over the age of 65, a vulnerable population, to renew their driver's licenses online to avoid having to congregate at DMV offices at this time
  • Directs the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) to engage in emergency rulemaking regarding state employees. The administration wants to ensure that state functions continue to run smoothly and that state workers who are subject to mandatory or voluntary quarantine or isolation and who cannot work from home have access to paid leave. For employees who may be put either in quarantine or isolation and can work from home, they should do so. If these workers fall ill and cannot perform their duties, they will be able to use paid leave, and the state will be flexible with that paid leave. For impacted employees who cannot work remotely, such as correctional officers, assisted living staff, etc., the administration is working to ensure paid leave options for those who are ill to ensure that those workers can continue to put food on the table while protecting public health
  • Suspends statutory provisions that exclude temporary employees from the definition of “employee” for the purposes of leave benefits eligibility, and directs the State Personnel Director to determine what, if any, state leave benefits may be provided to temporary employees.
  • Suspends the requirement that state employees who are absent from work due to COVID-19-like symptoms for three or more consecutive days provide a medical certificate form from a health care provider, and directs the State Personnel Director to create and promulgate an Employee Self-Certification Form that shall be used by employees in lieu of a medical certificate form.  


Read the executive order here.


Last night, the Governor issued guidelines to all K-12 schools, preschools, and child care centers requiring closure for 72 hours if they have a student or faculty member who tests positive for COVID-19, allowing for schools to be disinfected. The guidelines also cover institutions of higher education.  More details on the guidelines are available here.  


Per the Governor’s instruction, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) are engaging in emergency rulemaking to limit visitation to facilities that serve older Coloradans, to screen all employees and visitors to these facilities, and to take necessary steps to protect those in these facilities. Older Coloradans and those with underlying health conditions are much more vulnerable to COVID-19. Read more here


CDPHE recently provided information on social distancing, how to prevent community spread, ways Coloradans can reduce fear and take care of themselves.