Colorado's statewide stay-at-home order set to expire this week; governor unveils 'Safer At Home' phase
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is calling the state's COVID-19 response "a marathon, not a sprint."
It appears the statewide stay-at-home order will expire at the end of the day on April 26 as scheduled, but life won't return to normal by April 27, according to the governor, who unveiled the next phase in a news conference Monday.
Called "Safer at Home," the phase set to begin April 27 is not an order, but rather a strong encouragement that residents stay at home as much as possible.
Local governments will have the opportunity to implement stricter restrictions, particularly those who may be experiencing an outbreak.
Schools will remain closed during the Safer At Home phase through the remainder of the school year.
It isn't clear when restaurants will reopen to dining in, but the governor stated he hopes to see those types of businesses open mid-May with strong social distancing practices taking place. It may be based on a county-by-county basis. There are many restaurants and retail stores still open with curbside pickup and delivery.
Some highlights of the Safer At Home phase:
- General Public: Stay at home when you can, except when absolutely necessary
- "Strong protections" for vulnerable populations
- Strongly advised face coverings in public
- No gatherings of more than 10 people
- Sick people may not go to work
- No unnecessary travel
- Focus on telecommunicating
- Critical business: Open, with strict precautions
- Offices can be "50 percent" open, with strict precautions. Large workplaces are advised to have symptom and temperature checks with telecommuting "maximized."
- Nursing homes and care facilities: Strict precautions and protections
- Retail: Open for curbside delivery and phased-in public opening
- Childcare: Open, with strict precautions
- Schools: Closed (no details on a timeline provided; however, in-person classes are suspended for the rest of the school year for K-12, with remote learning as a substitute)
- Personal Services such as hair salons, tattoo parlors, and personal training open, with strict precautions
- Real estate: Showings can begin, but no open houses
According to the governor's office, the modeling shows that the stay-at-home order has reduced social interactions by 75-80 percent since it went into effect. Currently, Colorado has 10,000 reported cases; however, the state believes the real number is closer to 65,000-75,000 Coloradans -- about 1.1 percent-1.3 percent of the population.
“Coloradans in every corner of our state have stepped up and taken responsible steps to help bend the curve of this pandemic and we are grateful for these shared efforts that helped save lives and slow the spread. The deadly virus will continue to be with us, and we must wear masks and socialize less to avoid its rapid growth. For seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, it’s important to stay home whenever possible through May. Though we are moving into a sustainable way of living during this pandemic, there are tough days ahead,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This is a marathon, not a sprint ... now we need to pace ourselves and these distancing measures need to be sustainable. We’re going to have to learn to live with coronavirus for a while, but we must live not with anxiety or fear, but with extreme caution, especially if you are a member of a vulnerable population. I am thrilled that we are on the path to a sustainable way of living more safely, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t the potential that we have to return to a more cautious approach if the state sees a spike in new cases.”
You can watch the governor's announcement below: