Colorado Governor Jared Polis speaks on Wednesday, April 22.
On Monday, April 27, the state of Colorado begins the process of reopening.
The Safer At Home phase will begin.
Wednesdday (April 22), Governor Jared Polis again outlined some of the primary points of reopening and again stressed this is the start of a gradual, phased-in process that residents must take seriously.
He said the timing is right to take this step.
"This is actually what was most shocking to me from the modeling. Maintaining the stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks or even four weeks delays the peak but it doesn't really have anything more than a negligible impact in the severity of the peak. The peak is essentially the same it's just a little bit later."
Gov. Polis said Safer At Home "is not any kind of free-for-all. It's not an opportunity to go out and get the virus and spread the virus. It's a pandemic not a vacation. Not having parties or get-togethers, not having unnecessary travel, all those things, they'll be a day we'll be able to do them. To get through this, we need to forego some of those things for May."
"It's incredibly important to get this right," he continued. "We can only offer the guidance, the orders, the information. It's up to Colorado to get it right. I know we'll get it right."
The governor said for people 65 years of age or older or people with underlying health issues, May should look similar to April. People in those categories should stay home and limit social interactions as much as possible.
The governor reiterated that Colorado's stay-at-home order expires at the end of the day on April 26 and Safer At Home begins on Monday, April 27
On April 27:
--The stay-at-home will expire but people are encouraged to stay at home whenever they can.
--Critical/essential retailers will be able to reopen with strict precautions in place such as social distancing, staggered employee shifts, employees wearing masks and the like.
--Any retailer can open with curbside delivery. Those that desire to can open to the public on May 1.
--Personal services such as hair salons, dental appointments and elective surgeries can reopen as long as proper precautions are taken.
--Real estate showing can begin but still no open houses.
--Members of vulnerable population, such as the elderly or pregnant women, should avoid social interactions when they can.
Then on May 4:
--Non-critical businesses (Colorado's commercial capacity) can open at 50% of capacity.
--Large companies are advised to have symptom and temperature checks as people enter.
--Telecommunting should be maximized.
Gov. Polis said Safer At Home will focus on several strategies to minimize transmission of the coronavirus and thus keep the impact on hospitals and the healthcare system at a manageable level:
--60-65% social distancing maintained
--Vulnerable populations and older adults should stay at home except when absolutely necessary
--Increased protection measures, compliance and enforcement for senior care facilities
--Increasing testing and aggressive contact tracing program
--Building more healthcare capacity
--Mask/face covering should be worn in public
--Maintain excellent hygiene at all times (hand washing)
The governor also covered several other topics in his remarks and question-and-answer session with reporters.
--Details will be coming next week on the progress in this area and PPE but he said 150,000 tests and 150,000 swabs from South Korea that are destined for Colorado are in customs and will be here this week. Those tests have been verified.
ON SCHOOLS RETURNING TO IN-PERSON LEARNING THIS FALL
"We are expecting schools to go back in the fall. There's nobody that can guarantee that's going to happen and, of course, school districts should plan for different contingencies. But I am very optimistic that in-classroom instruction will begin in August [but] not exactly the same way. It could mean a number of different things. It could just mean slightly different desk configurations in classrooms, different passing times for different students, things like that. We're going to work very closely with the school districts, with the teachers, with the superintendents, with the principals to make that work."
ON HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS RETURNING IN THE FALL
"There's two dimensions to sports. One is the players and one is the fans. The players [dimension] is very realistic. We look forward to working with CHSAA and with others to figure out how to do that. The fans are a little bit harder. It depends on venues and spacing and distancing and how many people go. But of course we want to figure out how that can happen. The time frame for all of those school-related things would be the fall and we hope to be able to have sufficient guidelines in place with the confidence that [sports] can resume."
ON ROCKIES GAMES AT COORS FIELD
"Compare those [things] that are going to be happening in May to stuff that isn't happening in May, like a Rockies game, people that are packed in closely, eating and drinking. [It's] very difficult to get hygienic and distancing practices right. As much as it pains me, while we hope Major League Baseball has a season this year, it's going to be in a different way if they can pull off a season. That shows sporting events as a high-exposure risk by the nature of what it is. We'll get there. We all can't wait. But that's not May."
The governor's full remarks are below.
From the governor's office:
Gov. Polis Provides Update to Coloradans on
State Response to COVID-19
DENVER - Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on how the state is responding to COVID-19 and provided further clarification on what the Safer-at-Home phase of the pandemic will look like for Coloradans.
“I want to reiterate, the Safer-at-Home phase is not going back to life as normal. It’s not a major adjustment from where we have been,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Safer-at-Home means most Coloradans should continue to limit social interactions to the greatest extent possible to just individuals in your household and wear facial masks when you are out. I’m proud of how Colorado has come together during this difficult period to stay home as much as possible, protecting ourselves and our neighbors. But we still have work to do - we are not through the woods yet.”
The goal of the Safer-at-Home phase is to maintain 60-65% physical distancing. This means:
- Vulnerable populations and older adults must stay home unless absolutely necessary.
- No group gatherings of more than 10 people.
- Critical businesses will remain open with strict precautions (social distancing, masks for all employees, more frequent cleanings, etc.)
- Retail businesses may open for curbside delivery and phased-in public opening with strict precautions.
- Nightclubs, gyms and spas will remain closed.
- Elective medical and dental procedures begin, with strict precautions to ensure adequate personal protective equipment and the ability to meet critical care needs.
- Personal services (salons, tattoo parlors, dog grooming, personal training, etc.) will open with strict precautions.
- K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Telecommuting continues for offices. Starting on May 4, up to 50% of staff can work in person (with social distancing in place).
- The state is not changing requirements for nursing homes and other senior care facilities. There will continue to be restrictions on visiting residents.
The Safer-at-Home phase is not:
- A free-for-all
- An opportunity to leave the house as much as possible and spread the virus to others
- An excuse to not wear a facial covering, or begin giving hugs or handshakes
- Going to the mountains to spend the weekend
- Conducting unnecessary travel
- Having parties or get togethers
- Playing in pick up sports games
In the coming days, further guidance will be provided to a variety of affected industries including retail, offices, elective medical and dental services, child care, education, personal services, and real estate.
The Governor also provided guidance and best practices for non-critical workplaces, including their employees and customers. Non-critical workplaces should be operating at no more than 50% in-person capacity and should allow employees to telework whenever possible. For more details on best practices, view the Governor’s presentation.
Under the Safer-at-Home phase, local governments will have a variety of options when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities.
- Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer-at-Home to match the state.
- Local governments can go farther than the state, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.
- Local governments can relax guidelines more than the state. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction and elected leadership.