What You Need to Know About the Lifting of Colorado’s Stay-at-Home Order

Danielle Webster
The State Capitol. Photo by Danielle Webster

[Update May 15 at 2:28 p.m.: The current safer-at-home order is set to expire May 26 as stated in the May 14 amended order that can be viewed here.]

[Update April 27 at 3:16 p.m.: Best practices and guidance for businesses have been issued here and are broken down by industry. Also, information on local variances and how local governments can apply for a variant of the order has been released here. ]

[Update April 24 at 1:24 p.m.: Governor Jared Polis is providing more updates and answering questions via a Livestream.]

[Update April 24 at 11:27 a.m.: The City and County of Denver’s stay-at-home order were extended to May 8 and is scheduled to end May 9. Mayor Hancock held a press conference on  April 24 at 10 a.m. Go here for more information on the press conference. Currently, Colorado’s stay-at-home order is still scheduled to end April 27.]

Next week, Colorado will enter into a new phase of its coronavirus measures. Dubbed “Safer at Home,” Governor Jared Polis outlined, in a press conference on April 22, how the state will transition from the current stay-at-home order into the new directive. Despite many misconceptions, this does not mean a return to normal. Polis, who has a penchant for analogies, likens it to a ski slope, explaining the stay-at-home order was more like the bunny hill and now we’re moving onto an easy green run.

To clarify the differences, we’ve parsed out what you need to know.

The Basics

  • The stay-at-home order for Colorado lasts through Sunday, April 26 meaning it officially ends on Monday, April 27.  Although for businesses, this will happen in phases (see business section.)
  • If you live in Denver, the stay-at-home order lasts until May 8 (as of late on April 23) and presumably, Denver county residents should follow the order until then.
  • Both the mayor and governor have previously said that Denver’s stay-at-home order is different due to the higher density of Denver county.
  • Polis said there will be flexibility for local governments to tailor policies based on their areas as long as it meets basic standards set by the state. In his April 24 update, Polis explained that counties such as Weld cannot supersede these state standards unless they apply for special allowance. Go here for more information on local variances.
  • In his press conference, Polis explained that he has come to his decision to lift the stay-at-home order after modeling showed that two additional weeks of the order would not reduce the peak number of cases, rather it would only delay it. The exact modeling Polis is referring to has not yet been released.
  • The safer-at-home order is set to expire on May 26 at 11:59 p.m. but can be extended at any time.

For the General Public

Photo by Amanda Piela.
  • At-risk populations should still follow the stay-at-home order guidelines and keep contact at a minimum. According to Polis, your “May should look a lot like your April” for these populations.
  • All public gatherings above 10 people are banned and Polis encourages people to keep social interaction to a minimum.
  • Mask wearing and social distancing are still important and heavily encouraged for all public outings.
  • Elective surgeries can resume
  • K-12 schools will remain closed for the school year
  • Polis encourages people to stay at home as much as possible and discourages unnecessary travel and interactions including mountain travel, parties, neighborhood barbecues, family get-togethers, pick-up soccer games, etc.
  • Travel should be no more than 10 miles from your home

For Businesses

Holistic Salon. Photo by Adrienne Thomas.
  • Restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms and spas will remain closed until further notice. Polis said it’s possible they may re-open in mid-May, but Mayor Hancock recently said it’s likely they’ll extend the closure past its current May 11 deadline for Denver county.
  • For businesses, the lifting of the stay-at-home order will be phased over several days.
  • On May 1, retail businesses can open back up to the public with strict precautions. They can start curbside services as early as April 27, though.
  • Personal service businesses such as salons, dog groomers, personal training and dental offices can also re-open with strict precautions.
  • Polis’ reasoning is that these are “one-on-one” businesses and therefore less likely to cause mass spreading like high-density businesses (such as restaurants, gyms and clubs)
  • Polis issued on April 27 industry-specific guidelines. You can view them here.
  • On May 4, 50% of the workforce can return to the workplace, but Polis encourages businesses to allow as many people to work from home as possible.”It’s an opportunity to go back [to work], not a mandate,” he said.
  • Polis explained he will enforce the 50% workforce rule and asked local mayors to do so as well. He encouraged people to report any businesses not complying and suggested people tweet at him directly. Or you can call 311 in Denver or report them to your local health authority. Polis explained those not complying, “risk losing their [business] license.”

READ: 6 Local Hair Stylists and Salons That Want To Meet With You Virtually

Next Steps

Polis outlined plans for the future and how they aim to prevent future outbreaks. His current strategy involves a high level of public participation including the majority of the population still practicing social distancing and mask-wearing. This will be paired with increased testing and strict case isolation. Polis explained that this portion will be aided by 300,000 new testing kits and swabs that will arrive by mid-May and more anti-body testing with the help of the Gary Community Foundation. However, Polis was adamant that all these efforts must be combined, including high public participation, for their plan to work.

Stay tuned as we will update this article as more information becomes available.

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