Governor Polis provides update on COVID-19

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic today. Gov. Polis was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s lead epidemiologist, Jill Ryan, Executive Director of CDPHE, and Kate Greenberg, Colorado’s Commissioner of Agriculture. 

“Colorado needs to step up to save lives now. We have a short window of time to get the deadly virus under more control before the holiday season and protect our families, ourselves, and to avoid economic setbacks,” said Governor Polis. “Getting this virus under control requires you to reduce your social interactions, stay at least six feet apart from others, wear a mask, and wash your hands regularly. These cases aren’t going to change magically on their own. Every Coloradan has made sacrifices during this pandemic and that should strengthen our resolve to do everything we can now, during the most challenging period of the pandemic.”

Governor Polis and Director Jill Ryan discussed the dial framework which the state unveiled in September further to provide transparency, clarity, and predictability for Coloradans and local government officials as they work to protect their communities and reopen their economies. This tool provides a real-time, visual representation of a Colorado community’s success in containing the spread of COVID-19. 

Governor Polis and Director Ryan also announced that the State is partnering with CDPHE to launch a new, statewide media campaign called “Step Up, Colorado” in English, and “Echale Ganas, Colorado” in Spanish. This campaign emphasizes the importance of Coloradans wearing their masks and keeping their distance whenever they are around others. The Governor urged everyone to “step up” to help spread the word and encourage all Coloradans to protect each other from COVID-19. Click the image to watch more or here

The Governor provided an update on wildfires. This August, Dan Gibbs, Executive Director at the Department of Natural Resources, gave us all a firsthand account of what it was like to fight on the front lines of the Grizzly Creek Fire. Director Gibbs was recently called to help fight the Cameron Peak Fire northeast of Estes Park. The Governor thanked Director Gibbs and all the other men and women who are on the front lines of the multiple fires around our state. Gibbs has been a Type II wildland firefighter for 13 years.

Gov. Polis and Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg made an exciting announcement about the Colorado Farm & Food Systems Respond & Rebuild Fund. Colorado agricultural producers are eligible for grant awards up to $12,500. Farmers’ markets, food hubs, processors, and other intermediaries that support producers are eligible for up to $50,000. Grant dollars were made available through CARES Act funds.

“COVID-19 has had serious impacts on agriculture and underscored how vital our food systems are,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “It is critical that farmers, ranchers, and processors receive financial support to ensure their operations continue in the wake of this unprecedented pandemic. The Department of Agriculture has been fighting for them every step of the way and will continue to do so as we build a more resilient future.” 

Colorado was one of the few states in the country to hold a State Fair this year. The respond and rebuild grants will be administered by the independent Colorado Farm & Food Systems Respond & Rebuild Fund. Applications are open now and will be accepted through Monday, November 9, 2020. Apply here

Watch today’s news conference. View today’s presentation. 

Governor Polis provides update on COVID-19

Governor Polis takes action to address COVID-19, support election cybersecurity

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis took action to address COVID-19 and support election cybersecurity. 

The Governor extended an executive order allowing voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to proceed under certain conditions. 

The Governor also signed an executive order activating up to 10 members of the Colorado National Guard Defensive Cyber Operations Element to assist with election cybersecurity defense efforts during the 2020 Presidential election.  The National Guard members may participate in training activities and assist with election cybersecurity defense efforts from October 19, 2020, through November 4, 2020, and will help ensure that Colorado remains a model for elections.

Governor Polis takes action to address COVID-19, support election cybersecurity

Governor Polis takes action to address COVID-19 pandemic

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis took action today to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The governor extended an executive order increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees. The governor also extended an executive order related to criminal justice

Governor Polis takes action to address COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Polis takes action on housing stability

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today signed an executive order implementing a number of recommendations from the Special Eviction Prevention Task Force. The governor convened the task force in August to examine housing instability challenges due to COVID-19. 

“My top priority is protecting the health and safety of Coloradans, which includes secure housing. Implementing these thoughtful recommendations is another important step toward creating housing stability for more Coloradans during this pandemic,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We want to help provide relief for families that have been impacted financially by this pandemic. I thank members of the Task Force for their work on these recommendations and my administration, in partnership with DOLA, local governments, and private partners looks forward to working to help more Coloradans have a home to live in.”

Last week, Gov. Polis signed an executive order allocating available CARES Act funds to the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to supplement the funding provided by HB20-1410 for housing assistance to support those who have been economically impacted by COVID-19. The governor also previously implemented the Task Force recommendation requiring landlords to provide notice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moratorium and a declaration form with any demand for rent and before initiating an eviction, in addition to a list of tenant resources.

Executive Order D 2020 223 includes: 

  • Continuation of the CDC notice requirement, including in Spanish with DOLA’s notice template. 
  • Suspension of the assessment and accumulation of late fees and interest until December 31, 2020. 
  • Continuation of the 30-day extended period to cure for both commercial and residential evictions. 
  • Directs the executive director of DOLA to continue working with landlords to implement the model rent repayment agreements created by DOLA to assist individuals who are unable to pay rent because they have been impacted by financial hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Encourages municipalities to remove limits on the number of unrelated persons who can live in a single household and on the number of days that hotel rooms may be occupied.

The report can be found here. The governor has committed to keeping this executive order in place until December 31, 2020. 

Governor Polis takes action on housing stability

Governor Polis takes action to address fires in Colorado

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis took action today to address the fires in Colorado. 

The Governor extended an executive order concerning multiple fires statewide and authorizing the use of the Colorado National Guard to support firefighting operations throughout the state.  It also extends authorization for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to temporarily suspend certain regulations, certifications, and licensing requirements for out-of-state providers of emergency medical services and physician medical directors to provide support for fire response in Colorado.  

Governor Polis takes action to address fires in Colorado

Governor Polis provides update on state response to COVID-19, discusses support for local restaurants

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and discussed ways to support local restaurants during this challenging time. 

“Coloradans are very alarmed by the increased number of very sick people coming into hospitals and know that we must do better with the basics like reducing the number of people we are with, washing our hands, avoiding crowds, and wearing a mask,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Prior to serving as governor, I built businesses and know that our economic health is inherently tied to our public health. We know that when our restaurants thrive and consumer confidence increases, our agriculture industry and supply chain benefits. The better we do at suppressing this virus and finding creative solutions for safer outdoor dining, the more we can support small businesses, like our restaurants, and keep building back our economy stronger than before.” 

Colorado last week recorded more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in one 24-hour period, the most since March. Today the state saw another day with more than 1,000 cases and alarmingly the positivity rate is above 5%. On September 4, there were 132 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state and on October 12 there were 288. 

The Governor was joined today by Sonia Riggs, President and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association, Aileen Reilly, owner of Beast + Bottle and Coperta, and Alice Jackson, President of Xcel Energy Colorado to discuss the impacts COVID-19 has had on the restaurant industry and what Coloradans can do to support local restaurants. Reilly discussed how her company is working to keep customers and workers safe and overcome challenges posed by the pandemic. Gov. Polis also joined Reilly in support of the federal Restaurant Act to provide assistance to the industry.  

Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy today announced that they will be committing an initial $500,000 to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season. In addition to this donation, they are also committing to matching donations of $50,000, up to an additional $250,000, for every $500,000 that’s raised for the Colorado COVID Relief Fund. That’s a possible total contribution of $750,000 from the Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy. This is one of the single largest gifts the company has made in their history.

“We are proud to be part of the Colorado community, and we are committed to helping our state recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy — Colorado. “Restaurants are part of what makes Colorado a special place to live, work, and visit. We thank Governor Polis for his leadership to aid Colorado’s recovery and we are proud to support this effort to ensure restaurants can continue to safely serve their customers through the winter months.”

Governor Polis also announced that on October 19, there will be a virtual convening of architects, contractors, engineers, local public health and government officials, and restaurant leaders to discuss ways to creatively continue to provide an outdoor dining experience this winter. Restaurants have been creative in finding ways to create outdoor dining spaces over the last seven months. That’s why Governor Polis today encouraged city leaders and local government officials to begin thinking about ways to sustain safe outdoor dining throughout the winter months by utilizing things like fire pits, space heaters, and tenting. The Governor also applauded the municipalities who have already taken steps to help restaurants during this challenging time. 

Coloradans can support their favorite restaurants by continuing to dine with them and also by donating at COOutdoorDining.org

View the news conference on the governor’s Facebook page

Governor Polis provides update on state response to COVID-19, discusses support for local restaurants

Gov. Polis takes action on Colorado drought, calls on USDA to expedite assistance for farmers and ranchers

DENVER – As Colorado is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and farmers and ranchers are facing significant challenges as a result, Gov. Polis is taking action by expanding Phase 2 activation of the Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan for the state’s remaining 24 counties and is calling on the USDA to expedite disaster aid payments to support Colorado producers. 

In June, Governor Polis activated Phase 2 of the Drought Mitigation and Response Plan for 40 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Due to increased drought conditions, he decided to expand this to the remaining 24, which includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, Larimer, Logan, Moffat, Morgan, Park, Phillips, Rio Blanco, Routt, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, and Weld. 

“Exceptional (D4) drought conditions returned to Colorado and continue to hold in Kiowa county; 50% of Colorado is currently experiencing extreme (D3) drought conditions; and 39% of the state is under severe (D2) drought (according to the Sept. 17th US Drought Monitor). As of the September 4th record, USDA drought disaster designations are active for 59 of 64 Colorado counties. Record breaking temperatures statewide are projected to persist over the next three months, meaning imminent relief is unlikely,” the Phase 2 activation Phase 2 activation letter reads.

The Governor also sent a letter to Secretary Perdue, encouraging the USDA to provide emergency relief for Colorado producers as a result of persistent drought conditions. “Colorado producers, in all four corners, continue to experience dire ecosystem conditions with depleted soil health, pest pressures, rangeland damage, and a heavy reliance on declining groundwater reserves,” the letter reads. 

Gov. Polis takes action on Colorado drought, calls on USDA to expedite assistance for farmers and ranchers

Gov. Polis provides update on Colorado response to COVID-19

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and how the pandemic is affecting Colorado students. He was joined by Commissioner of Education, Dr. Katy Anthes, Superintendent of Aurora Public Schools Rico Munn, and Dr. Chris Rogers, Director of Child and Adolescent Services at the Medical Center of Aurora and President of the Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society. 

“This pandemic has created unique challenges for hardworking families, teachers, and students so it’s critical that Colorado students are enrolled and receiving the instruction and support they need to continue their education. I encourage everyone including parents, educators, communities, and business leaders to do their part to increase school engagement at all levels because even a few months of lost learning has significant impacts on students,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I applaud the teachers, parents, and loved ones who are going above and beyond in helping kids stay engaged with online and in-person learning and thinking outside the box. My administration is focused on offering as much support as we can to schools across our state to ensure learning continues, while prioritizing both the education of students and the health and safety of students, staff, and teachers.”

“We cannot let our children’s education become a casualty of this pandemic,” Commissioner of Education, Dr. Katy Anthes. “We need parents to enroll students whether it’s for online or in-person learning and the department will continue to work with districts to support all of our students during this challenging time.”  

Schools in Colorado are seeing lower enrollment, and many school districts are working hard to reach students and families. 

Today the state announced revisions to school outbreak guidelines, providing more tools to school districts that adopt best practices for COVID mitigation like seating charts and mask wearing, to safely quarantine close contacts, instead of automatically quarantining entire cohorts or classrooms of students. This is particularly important for middle and high schools, where it is more difficult to keep students in small cohorts. 

The Governor also announced that the state has placed 40 new AmeriCorps members in some of the highest needs schools from the San Luis Valley to the Front Range focused on student outreach and engagement. These AmeriCorps members will help to contact families to help get children enrolled, attending, and engaged in school as soon as possible. 

In addition, Gov. Polis announced the Colorado Department of Local Affairs has provided $2.1 million through the Next Step 2-Generation Homelessness Prevention Program to support education-housing partnerships to help provide stable housing for children and families at-risk of experiencing homelessness. These resources will support Adams 14, Sheridan, Brighton 27J, Jefferson County, and Boulder school districts and their partners by helping to house 225 homeless families.

These steps come in addition to the state’s work to help address broadband access for students and support at-home learning. In partnership with the Attorney General’s Office and Colorado Department of Education, the State announced that T-Mobile would be providing 34,000 hotspots to families and $2 million to address broadband connectivity issues and support remote learning last month. In addition, families can watch “Colorado Classroom,”  high-quality K-3 literacy and STEM content taught by master teachers, every Monday through Friday 8-10 am on Rocky Mountain PBS or at RMPBS.org. The Governor reminded families that they can visit stayathomeco.colorado.gov/education for more resources on how to best navigate learning at home.  

Gov. Polis provided an update on the state’s wildfires and how they are affecting air quality. As of Tuesday morning:

  • Mullen Fire is 77,950 acres and two percent contained 
  • Cameron Peak Fire is now 124,026 acres and 21 percent contained
  • Middle Fork Fire is 7,897 acres and 0 percent contained
  • Williams Fork Fire grew to 12,850 acres and is 14 percent contained
  • Grizzly Creek Fire is unchanged at 32,431 acres and 91 percent contained

As of Sunday, September 27, CDPHE has issued 107 air quality health advisories for Wildfire Smoke across Colorado. That is the second highest number of advisories since they started being tracked in 2011. 

Gov. Polis reminded Coloradans to visit Census.gov to fill out this quick, easy form to be counted in the 2020 Census before the deadline.  

Governor Polis highlighted LivWell Enlightened Health is a vertically integrated cannabis company headquartered here in Colorado that has stepped up to support their community during this difficult time. Beginning in August, the company provided the opportunity for its customers to round up their purchase totals to the nearest dollar amount with the difference going to the COVID Relief Fund. As of today, LivWell Enlightened Health customers choosing to round up for COVID relief has raised $29,319 representing 68,575 transactions/donations. Visit helpcoloradonow.org for more information on the COVID Relief Fund.

View the news conference on the Governor’s Facebook page.

Gov. Polis provides update on Colorado response to COVID-19

Gov. Polis provides update on COVID-19 response

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s COVID-19 response and was joined by Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, lead epidemiologist at CDPHE, and Adrianne Maddux, Executive Director of Denver Indian Health and Family Services. The Governor, Lt. Governor, and Maddux addressed how the pandemic is affecting Colorado’s American Indian/Alaska Native communities. 

“Our health officials are concerned about the recent increase in virus transmission across our state. The increase is most pronounced in 18-25 year olds, who have a much lower hospitalization rate, but sadly the rate is also increasing in Coloradans of all ages and we need to turn that around,” said Governor Jared Polis. “As a state, our success is measured by our collective efforts to support and protect each other. We all must do a better job of wearing face masks, avoiding large crowds, and physically distancing ourselves.”

American Indian and Alaska Native populations have been overrepresented in hospitalizations and deaths. 

“Our partnership with the American Indian Tribes and communities that call Colorado home strengthens the fabric of our state” said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera. “I’m proud to work directly with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe through the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs, as well as the numerous organizations who are working to support American Indians/Alaska Natives living off of tribal lands. Together, we are working to identify and address the barriers that many community members are facing. While I’m proud of the work we’ve done, there’s still much left to do and I look forward to building on these partnerships to continue improving outcomes for Colorado’s American Indian/Alaska Native populations.”

Gov. Polis and Dr. Herlihy also addressed the rising number of cases among 18-25 year olds, as well as all other age groups in Colorado, and the potential danger for community spread if not careful. Both emphasized the importance of avoiding large crowds and not attending parties in order to minimize transmission of the virus. Overall, Colorado has seen an increase in cases in all age groups. The increase is the highest in the 18-25 year old age group.

Gov. Polis today announced that the state would be implementing mandatory furlough days for all state employees, unless they are considered exempt, due to the budget shortfall. This thoughtful furlough plan helps address the state’s budget shortfall while ensuring that the state’s lower wage workers are not impacted and we can continue to deliver high quality critical services for Coloradans. The state will save between $7-8 million and this will affect 23, 600 state employees. 

The governor today amended and extended an executive order providing assistance to residential and commercial tenants at risk for eviction who were economically harmed by COVID-19. The Executive Order directs all landlords of rental properties to notify tenants in writing of federal protections against eviction provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The governor also extended executive orders addressing marriage licenses and temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes.

Gov. Polis provides update on COVID-19 response