Colorado stay-at-home order: What does it mean?

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At a news conference March 25, Gov. Jared Polis announced a stay-at-home order. - GOV. JARED POLIS
  • Gov. Jared Polis
  • At a news conference March 25, Gov. Jared Polis announced a stay-at-home order.

Gov. Jared Polis issued a stay-at-home order, effective 6 a.m. March 26, for all of Colorado in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"The numbers are telling us, and the data is telling us, that while we’ve made progress on increasing social distancing, that progress is not enough," Polis said at a news conference March 25.

Under the executive order, which is effective through April 11, Coloradans are ordered to stay at home aside from actions such as "obtaining food and other household necessities, going to and from work at critical businesses, seeking medical care, caring for dependents or pets, or caring for a vulnerable person in another location."

State governments that have issued similar orders include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

A public health order, issued March 25 by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, lists the following types of businesses as "critical," meaning they may stay open under the stay-at-home order:

• Health care operations (such as hospitals and medical care facilities)
• Critical infrastructure (such as utilities and roadways)
• Critical manufacturing (such as food processing and chemical companies)
• Critical retail (such as grocery stores, farm stands, gas stations, restaurants and bars serving takeout and delivery, medical marijuana dispensaries, and recreational marijuana dispensaries offering curbside pickup)
• Critical services (such as trash collection and mail services)
• News media (such as newspapers and television)
• Financial institutions (such as banks and insurance companies)
• Providers of basic necessities (such as homeless shelters and food banks)
• Construction (such as housing for low-income people and electricians)
• Defense (such as security and aerospace operations)
• Safety and sanitation services (such as law enforcement and fire prevention)
• Vendors of critical services (such as technology support and child care programs)
• Critical government functions (such as public safety and emergency response)

You can read the full list of critical businesses here (go to page 5).

Also on March 25, Polis asked President Donald Trump to declare the state a major disaster area, which Polis said will open up federal resources for medical care, housing and disaster management.

During his press conference, Polis explained that county health departments were responding to the crisis in many different ways. That meant, he said, they were essentially developing a density issue, with more and more people patronizing fewer and fewer retailers or recreation sites.

“We need time to build the hospital capacity to acquire the ventilators we need to save lives,” Polis said. “At the peak of the crisis, we expect to need thousands of more hospital beds. We hope by reducing the spread of the virus and having you stay at home, we’re going to be doing that.”

The governor added that the state is acting to minimize the disruption to jobs and the economy.

“By acting boldly now, we can limit the duration of this economic crisis,” he said. “We can effectively contain this virus by engaging in these measures now and returning to normal sooner, as opposed to later.”

Watch the full news conference online here.


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