State health department enacts public health order as a critical measure to save lives 

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DENVER, March 26, 2020: In accordance with Governor Jared Polis’ executive order and because the transmission of COVID-19 is widespread throughout the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) enacted a public health order requiring Coloradans to stay at home, except to do limited necessary activities as outlined in the order. The order is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, saving people in Colorado from severe illness and death. The order minimizes contact between people, limiting exposure to the virus. 

Colorado must act now to “flatten the curve” of increased cases, which will help hospitals to prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients. Based on global COVID-19 rates of hospitalization and death, public health experts predict that without measures like the stay-home order, Colorado hospitals will be unable to handle the surge of sick people, and many in the state could die. Even with these extreme measures, hospitals likely will reach their maximum capacity to care for people with severe symptoms. The stay-at-home order aims to slow the rate of spread of the virus, giving our health care and emergency management systems additional time to grow capacity. Each and every person in Colorado plays a part in slowing the spread of the virus. 

The public health order requires people in Colorado  to stay at home, except when doing necessary activities including: 

• Obtaining food, medicine, other household supplies.

• Going to and from work if you are a critical employee (Please see list of critical businesses below).

• Seeking medical care.

• Caring for family, household members, and animals.

• Caring for a vulnerable person in another location.

• Participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other people and by your home.

The order went into effect at 6 a.m. on March 26, 2020, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 11, 2020. The order may be changed or extended.

“The sacrifices that Coloradans are making will pay off in the long run,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “It will take everyone acting together to slow the spread of the illness to a level that our health care systems can absorb, but countless lives will be saved through these measures.” 

The critical workplaces that are exempt include:

  • Health care operations.
  • Critical infrastructure, including utilities, fuel supply and transmission, public water, telecommunications, transportation, hotels, organizations that provide for disadvantaged people, and food supply chain.
  • Critical manufacturing, including food, beverages, chemicals, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, agriculture.
  • Critical retail, including grocery stores, liquor stores, farms, gas stations, restaurants and bars for takeout/delivery, marijuana dispensaries (only for medical or curbside delivery), hardware stores.
  • Critical services, including trash and recycling, mail, shipping, laundromats, child care, building cleaning and maintenance, auto supply and repair, warehouses/distribution, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, animal shelters and rescues. 
  • News media.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations.
  • Construction.
  • Defense.
  • Public safety services like law enforcement, fire prevention and response, EMTs, security, disinfection, cleaning, building code enforcement, snow removal, auto repair.
  • Vendors that provide critical services or products including logistics, child care, tech support, or contractors with critical government services.
  • K-12 public and private schools for the purpose of providing meals, housing, facilitating or providing materials for distance learning and providing other essential services to students. 
  • Postsecondary institutions including private and public colleges and universities for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions.
  • Pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in-need of end-of-life services.
  • Houses of worship may remain open, but must practice social distancing or use electronic platforms.
  • Professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions.

All services included in the public health order are subject to social distancing requirements and are still encouraged to implement telework options and staggered schedules when possible. Businesses that have temporarily closed under the order can continue Minimum Basic Operations to protect assets.

To read the latest version of the public health order, click here. To see frequently asked questions, click here

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