DENVER (KKTV) - A lot of Coloradans are wondering how the governor's stay-at-home order will affect their day-to-day lives going forward.
The order went into effect at 6 a.m. March 26 and continues until 11:59 p.m. April 11. Gov. Jared Polis said the end date could happen sooner or could be pushed back depending on how circumstances evolve over the next 17 days.
The good news is, it won't look too different than the new normal we've all been living under since the middle of March.
What can I still do?
Get takeout, for one. Local restaurants will still be allowed to do pick-up and delivery. Dining inside, of course, has been prohibited since March 17.
Going outside is another. The new public health order specifically lists walking, hiking, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, biking and running as acceptable activities, and state parks will remain open to provide the public space to do these things. 11 News is working to clarify if city parks and open spaces will still be open and will update this article once we have that answer.
Social distancing must be practiced when outside, and group hikes or bike rides with friends need to be put on hold for now. The governor is asking citizens to only interact with those who live with them.
Grocery stores will remain open, and for that reason customers are urged not to panic-buy or hoard. Groceries will continue to be available, and stores have repeatedly said they are nowhere near a shortage on any items. The primary reason so many things are sold out on a daily basis is because so many people have changed their shopping habits as a response to the pandemic. Continue to only buy what you need, knowing you can go to the store again; continue to respect the hours reserved for senior citizens and other vulnerable groups; and continue practicing social distancing when inside the store.
The governor praised the cooperation of businesses deemed non-essential, stating that due to their cooperation, most already closed prior to Wednesday. So with that in mind, most customers will still be able to go to the places they have been going, such as liquor stores, convenience stores, cannabis stores, banks and pharmacies.
If you were utilizing your school district's meal pick-up program, nothing has changed. That service remains available. A full list of which schools are offering this program can be found here.
Child care remains available, but under strict conditions: No more than 10 children in the same group and these groups cannot change. The same children must be together every day; if a day care has more than one group of children at a facility, these groups must be separated and the children cannot switch between groups. Child care workers must remain with one group of children. Social distancing is required to whatever extent is possible.
Caring for a family member who does not live with you is still allowed, as is caring for a non-relative outside your home if they are considered vulnerable. Caring for a pet in another household or livestock at another location is also allowed.
You can still take a city bus or use a ride-share service, but this should only be for essential travel and if you have no other option. If you have the means to walk, bike or drive yourself, you're asked to do so.
If you're employed in an industry previously deemed critical, you can still go to work; and likewise, if you need a service provided by one of these critical businesses, that will remain available. Click here for a complete list.
Effective Thursday, the governor updated the public health order to include a few additional items as critical and allowed under the stay-at-home order (text verbatim from governor):
- Houses of worship may remain open, but must practice social distancing or use electronic platforms
- Pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in-need of end-of-life services
- Professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions
- Postsecondary institutions including private and public colleges and universities for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing requirements are observed, such as security, medical and mental health service, housing, food service, and critical research.
- 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.
If you don't see your question answered in this article, click here for the public health order, which goes into greater detail.
What has changed?
"Stay at home" is no longer a strong suggestion, it is now law.
Unless you're doing one of the things listed above, you're asked to remain at your house.
The governor says he believes the moves the state made prior to this order were effective in slowing the coronavirus spread somewhat -- but not enough.
"I don’t have the comfort level that the existing extreme measures that we’ve taken to date are enough to by us the time we need to save lives here in Colorado," he said in Wednesday's news conference.
Polis says compliance with this order will buy the state more time to get life-saving equipment as the number infected goes up, to prevent overcrowding in the hospitals, to flatten the curve so that infections occur at a manageable level. The virus has not yet peaked in Colorado, and that peak is coming, Polis warned.
"It’s space, it’s personnel. We need time for all of those and that’s what this order buys us. It buys us the time that we need to save lives in our state and reduce the spread of the virus. ... It’s not a question of if this virus will peak here in Colorado. It’s a question of when. We need the time to be able to acquire thousands of ventilators and build out the beds we need and activate the workforce we need to support the medical intervention that’s necessary to save the lives of about 1 out of every 10 people who contract this virus.”
Colorado roads will remain open, but travel between communities is discouraged unless it's essential to your job or health. Many Colorado counties are already prohibiting non-residents.
Flying, too, should not be done unless it is absolutely necessary.
Socializing needs to be done via FaceTime or similar for now. No inviting friends over.
The National Guard will not be enforcing this order. It is not martial law. But Polis warns non-compliance will cause a lot of hurt to every Coloradan, including those who are not directly impacted by the virus itself.
"If we don’t take these actions that we are taking today, and frankly, if you don’t stay home, this will create a much worse economic disaster with greater disruption, greater loss of jobs for a longer period of time.”