Colorado - COVID-19 Covered

Colorado

Total Cases: 26,084 (May 30)
Tests Administered: 175,741 (May 30)
Fatalities: 1,443 (May 30)
Testing:
  • Colorado’s Care Facility Task Force has completed 747 infection control surveys, including of all nursing homes in the state. Colorado has also received and is reviewing 1,048 isolation plans from congregate care facilities across the state. (May 28)
  • Governor Polis announced Colorado has expanded its testing capacity; the state can now test any individual who has COVID-19 symptoms; any individual who is employed as a health care worker, nursing home worker, or first responder; and any essential worker who directly interacts with other people while working. Coloradans can get tested at no cost by health care providers, local community-based testing sites, specialized testing sites, or private sector partners. (May 18)
  • Attorney General Phil Weiser and 20 other attorneys general are calling for federal action to protect meat and poultry processing plant employees, who are deemed essential workers, including new requirements for priority testing and immediate access to PPE. (May 12)
  • Colorado is joining Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington in the Western States Pact, which will share best practices for testing, tracking, and isolating, as well as other initiatives to mitigate health impacts, ensuring adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of PPE, among others. (April 27)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Polis extended an executive order directing workers in critical businesses and critical government functions to wear face coverings. (May 16)
  • Executive Order D 2020 058 extended Colorado’s state of disaster emergency and provided additional funds for response activities, including the continued employment of the Colorado National Guard. (May 7)
  • Essential service industries in Colorado include health care operations, critical infrastructure, food and manufacturing, critical retail (including grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores, and marijuana dispensaries), critical services (including trash collection, mail and shipping, self-serve laundromats, and child care), news media, financial institutions, economically disadvantaged population providers, construction, defense, municipal and general services, and businesses that need to maintain minimum basic operations. (March 31)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Polis issued guidelines allowing restaurants to open for in-person dining at 50 percent capacity of the occupancy code limit. (May 25) Additionally, Colorado is waiving state rules and regulations that prohibit spacing tables out in any way; notably, Polis suggested that residents with a “big yard” that live near a restaurant may offer it to them for spaced-out tables. (May 26)
  • Children’s day camps and youth sports camps may open on June 1. (May 25)
  • A number of businesses in Denver are permitted to reopen with six feet of social distancing and 50 percent of staff onsite, among other restrictions. These include offices, retail, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, pet groomers, personal trainers, eye doctors, and chiropractors. Several of these businesses are permitted to reopen with appointment-only service, or with 10 or fewer customers. (May 5)
  • Many residents are returning to work, with some social distancing rules and restrictions in place – offices with more than 50 people must follow additional protocols, including temperature and symptom checks. (May 4)
  • As Colorado moves in to its Safer-at-Home phase, retail businesses may open for curbside delivery and phased-in public opening with precautions; nightclubs, gyms, and spas will remain closed; personal services will open with precautions; and starting May 4, up to 50 percent of staff can work in person in offices with social distancing in place. (April 22)
  • Governor Polis said his target date for phased-in re-openings of restaurants and bars with reduced capacity is mid-May (April 20), while some businesses may be permitted to re-open with curbside pickup beginning April 27, and then with limited numbers of in-store customers on May 1. (April 20)
  • Governor Polis signed an executive order directing non-essential services employers to reduce in-person workforces by 50 percent and maximize remote working options. (March 22)
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health (CO DPH) issued an order closing bars, restaurants, theaters, gymnasiums, and casinos statewide (March 18), as well as an order restricting visitors at all state skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences, and intermediate care facilities. (March 12)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Polis signed an executive order amending his allocation of $1.674 billion in federal funds the state received from the CARES Act. The order directs $37 million to be transferred to the State Education Fund, leaving $275 million available for local governments that did not receive direct distributions from the CARES Act. (May 28)
  • Governor Polis signed an executive order which will extend certain state income tax payment deadlines until July 15. (May 17)
  • Governor Polis and the members of the Western States Pact are calling for $1 trillion in direct and flexible federal relief to states and local government – aimed at preserving core government services and helping people get back to work. (May 11)
  • According to lawmakers, an action to freeze rent and mortgage payments is off the table. (May 11)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order extending the filing and remitting of state severance tax until May 15. (May 8)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order extending the filing and remitting of state and state-administered local sales taxes until May 20. (May 4)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order limiting evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections to provide relief to Coloradans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 30)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order directing the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing to provide additional funds to nursing homes and other congregate care facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 30)
  • The State Department of Labor and Employment is beginning to take unemployment benefit applications under the CARES Act. Notably, self-employed and gig workers will be eligible to submit claims. (CO DOL)
  • In a press conference, Governor Polis outlined a three-stage process for the timeline of the crisis in the state: urgent (its current stage), stabilization, and recovery. Polis specified that the stabilization phase will mandate various forms of social distancing; the recovery phase would only begin once a vaccine or treatment could be widely implemented or herd immunity developed. (April 15)
  • Governor Polis sent a letter encouraging hotel and motel owners to help address the COVID-19 pandemic by agreeing to temporarily house homeless Coloradans and the state’s most vulnerable citizens. (April 13)
  • Governor Polis sent a letter saying he will mobilize 250 Colorado National Guard members to support existing shelters in Denver with staffing shortages for those who are experiencing homelessness. (April 13)
  • The Denver City Council unanimously passed a proclamation urging Governor Polis to freeze rent payments for anyone unable to pay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 13)
  • Governor Polis signed an executive order which extended the deadline for filing and remitting state local sales tax by one month. (April 6)
  • Governor Polis also signed an executive order limiting evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections, as well as expediting unemployment insurance claims processing. (April 6)
  • The Federal Transit Administration will send $285 million to Colorado to support the state’s public transit agencies. The majority of the funds will go to Denver’s Regional Transportation District. (April 2)
  • Essential workers will receive full tuition credit for childcare until May 17, including health care, infrastructure, critical services, news media, construction, and others. (March 30)
  • President Trump approved Governor Polis’ request to declare a Major Disaster for the state. (March 29)
  • Help Colorado Now, which has raised $7.7 million for relief funds, has begun its grant process. Individuals can apply for up to $25,000. (March 27)
  • The Colorado Apartment Association issued recommendations to landlords to waive late fees and suspend eviction orders. (March 24)
  • Governor Polis launched the state’s Innovation Response Team (IRT) to unite public and private sector resources and innovations to the state’s emergency response to the outbreak; its initial focus is accelerating a mass testing program for the virus, creating services for citizens under isolation, and developing local alternatives for constrained medical supplies. (March 22)
  • The Division of Insurance and Connect for Health Colorado announced Emergency Regulation 20-E-02, which will establish a special enrollment period for uninsured Coloradans. (March 19)
  • The state is considering a variety of legislation during the suspension of the General Assembly, including a measure to prohibit price gouging, a program for paid sick and medical leave for workers, and initiatives to provide immediate relief to businesses – particularly for the retail and restaurant sector. (March 19)

Business Support & Resources:

  • The state launched a new initiative, Can Do Colorado, which will provide guidance to businesses about increasing teleworking capabilities. (May 8)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order extending the income tax payment deadline to July 15, pursuant to federal extensions issued by the IRS. (April 19)
  • Governor Polis signed an executive order authorizing certain state agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date for certain licenses and other documents, including state park passes and licenses for health care facilities, Medicaid and CHIP providers, and commercial drivers, among others. (March 26)
  • Governor Polis announced that the Small Business Administration had granted disaster relief for small business loans in Colorado under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which will allow small businesses, nonprofits, agricultural cooperatives, and aquaculture enterprises affected by the outbreak to seek up to $2 million in low-interest federal loans to pay for debts, payroll and accounts payable. (March 19)
  • Governor Polis established the Colorado Emergency Childcare Collaborative in tandem with early childhood providers, school districts and foundations, the CDHS, and the OEC to create a system of emergency childcare for essential workers, including healthcare and public safety workers. (CO Emergency Child Care Collaborative)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Executive Order D 2020 044 established Colorado’s “Safer at Home” phase, which will allow many residents to return to work while maintaining a sustainable level of social distancing. (April 26)

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Residents may begin booking campsites in state parks where host counties have permitted them to open, and where social distance and sanitation guidelines are deployed. (May 12)
  • Governor Polis is urging residents to maintain social distancing, wear a mask, and keep in-person encounters to 30% during the state’s Safer-at-Home phase. (May 6)
  • Governor Polis announced the members of the Advisory Committee for Cooperation and Implementation, which will advise the Governor and CDPHE on policies and regulations to help maximize social distancing at the local level. (May 4)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order extending the closure of downhill ski areas until May 23. (April 30)
  • Executive Order B 2020 002 created the Governor’s New Normal Advisory Board, which will advise Governor Polis on “coordinating and harmonizing” policies and rules designed to maximize social distancing during the Safer at Home phase. (April 26)
  • Governor Polis stated that as Colorado moves into its Safer-at-Home phase, the state’s goal is to maintain 60-65% social distancing – which will include limiting group gatherings of more than 10 people, vulnerable populations remaining at home, and businesses will only reopen with strict precautionary measurements. (April 22)
  • Governor Polis signed an executive order directing workers in critical businesses and government functions to wear non-medical (cloth) face coverings in public. (April 17)
  • In a press conference, Governor Polis stated that social distancing guidelines will remain in place until a vaccine or cure is found or herd immunity developed. (April 15)
  • Governor Polis is encouraging all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings when they leave their homes for essential functions. (April 3)
  • Gatherings of 10 or more people should be canceled or postponed. (CDPHE)

Delivery Services:

  • Restaurants and bars are permitted to provide takeout and delivery service. The state has also temporarily suspended its licensing requirement for alcohol delivery. (March 20) 

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • The Department of Education, the Colorado Education Initiative, and Rocky Mountain Public Media are partnering to provide K-3 learners and their families with direct-to-home remote literacy learning, starting May 18. The programs will be broadcast in English with Spanish subtitles and available for free. (May 11)
  • Governor Polis issued an executive order closing schools for the rest of the year. (April 22)
  • Governor Polis signed a bill allowing local school district boards of education to adopt policies allowing board members to participate in meetings electronically. (HB 20-1301)

State Higher Education:

  • The state has issued recommended guidelines for planning for higher education institutions to combat the outbreak. (CDPHE)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com