Governor Polis extends Safer at Home and updates Protect Our Neighbor framework, announces closure of bars

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today extended the Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors Executive Order, and provided an update on Colorado’s next steps during the COVID-19 pandemic, introducing more details on the Protect Our Neighbors framework. The governor was joined by Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment; Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state’s top epidemiologist; Joni Reynolds, the Gunnison County Public Health Director; and Jason Vahling, the City and County of Broomfield Public Health Director.

“Protect Our Neighbors will allow Colorado to respond more swiftly and effectively at the community level in the event of another surge of cases. We live in a diverse state with cities, booming suburbs, small resort towns, and rural areas with plenty of wide-open spaces. Each community is having their own unique experience with this virus. Going forward, we want to increase our ability to tackle outbreaks at a community level and only issue statewide orders when absolutely necessary,” said Gov. Polis. “We are making some much-needed investments in our local public health agencies, so they can contain and quell an outbreak before it gets out of control. The fate of Colorado in both virus suppression and economic recovery is largely in the hands of Coloradans. If we continue taking the critical steps of staying at home, wearing masks when leaving the house and following social distancing practices, then we will get through this together.”

The Governor did not announce any additional relaxing of restrictions today, but described the new phase: Protect Our Neighbors that will give local communities more freedom to provide economic opportunity while ensuring that they have the necessary public health capacity. The introduction of the new phase means that different parts of the state could be at different phases of reopening, based on local conditions and capabilities. 

“Each day, we make progress to build the capacity of our public health system — from ramping up statewide testing sites to onboarding new case investigators and contact tracers systemwide, to identifying creative ways to aggressively acquire PPE. I am proud of the team at CDPHE who have stood strong during this very difficult time, and I’m grateful for our local public health partners who are leading the response against COVID in their communities,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. “It is important that Coloradans don’t let up now, and this new phase – Protect Our Neighbors – isn’t just words. It means we all accept personal responsibility for the things we can do every day to keep ourselves and others healthy.” 

Moving forward, communities that can demonstrate strong public health and health care systems, paired with low virus levels, can take on more control over their reopening plans. In order to reopen to this greater extent, communities must have: 

  • Low virus prevalence; 
  • Health care capacity to handle a surge; and  
  • Strong public health capacity to contain outbreaks and surges locally, including the ability to test, track, and trace.

In order to qualify for Protect Our Neighbors, a county (or region) must do two things:

  • Certify qualification according to the scientific metrics; and
  • Submit a mitigation and containment plan on what the county or region will do if they fall out of compliance with any of the metrics. This containment plan must be accompanied by letters of support from local elected leaders including county commissioners and mayors, the hospitals that serve that community, law enforcement, county emergency management, local public health, and if applicable, tribes.

The certification process will begin next week. To learn more about how a community can qualify, click here

Communities in Protect Our Neighbors will be able to permit all activities to occur at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, with at least six feet between non-household members and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time. Local communities may issue more detailed guidelines or public health orders for different settings, so long as the capacity does not exceed these caps. 

The governor also discussed funding and support for local governments as Colorado looks to move into Protect Our Neighbors. In total, the state is investing $346 million in state and local capacity, with $75 million going directly from the state to Local Public Health Agencies. Gov. Polis also announced two new sources of available funding: a planning grant or Infrastructure Strengthening Grant. 

All counties or local public health agencies can apply for a planning grant of up to $50,000. If counties have already identified infrastructure needs, they may apply for Infrastructure Strengthening Grants, with a maximum state award of $150,000 and a maximum total grant of $300,000. These grants will require local matching funds and can be spent on investments such as technology, community resource coordination, communication activities to increase compliance with the public health orders, funding for community-based partners and cultural brokers, and enhanced prevention and containment efforts.

Governor Polis announced the closure of bars. Bars that have taken steps to open as restaurants may continue to operate in-person service, so long as they have patrons seated with their own party only in set seating, spaced six feet apart, and with no mingling. Bars are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages to-go for takeout or delivery consumption if the alcoholic beverages are sold with food. All of the guidelines previously in place around social distancing still apply. Bars may still operate if open under a county variance pursuant to the terms of that county variance. More information can be found in the governor’s executive order.

View the governor’s presentation. Watch the full news conference on the governor’s Facebook page

Governor Polis extends Safer at Home and updates Protect Our Neighbor framework, announces closure of bars

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis signed executive orders in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

The Governor extended an executive order allowing food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support truckers and the movement of commercial vehicle activities.

The governor also amended and extended an executive order ordering the temporary suspension of certain statutes concerning taxpayer filing requirements for certain taxable property due to COVID-19. 

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis signed executive orders today in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

The Governor signed an executive order directing the Colorado Department of Human Services to access federal funds for child care services during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure stability and consistency for child care providers and protect the vital role they play for children and families.

Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order extending the use of telehealth services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The governor extended an executive order concerning the temporary suspension of certain requirements preventing the issuance of marriage licenses, and extended an executive order concerning the suspension of certain regulatory statutes.  The Governor extended an executive order ordering the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes concerning petition gathering for unaffiliated and independent candidates for office. 

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19

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

DENVER – Gov. Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and was joined by State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy to remind Coloradans about the importance of social distancing and wearing masks, especially with the upcoming 4th of July holiday. 

“It remains critical that Coloradans continue taking steps to protect themselves and others. Our state’s success thus far has been due to the actions and personal responsibility of Coloradans, and that will continue to be true,” said Governor Jared Polis. “As long as we continue to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, we can avoid seeing cases climb like our neighboring states. As we continue to reopen, more of the responsibility is placed on the individual to do the right thing. I’m proud of how Coloradans have responded during this pandemic and believe we can continue to make the right choices moving forward.  As we plan to celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 4th and enjoy their summer, Coloradans should make plans in a safe way, with just their own family or one other family.”

The governor discussed the risk levels associated with different activities. He encouraged Coloradans to get out into the state’s great outdoors and participate in low-risk activities like camping, hiking, biking, outdoor exercise and activities.

When deciding which activities they are comfortable participating in, Coloradans should ask themselves the following questions:

  • How many other people will be participating in this activity?
  • Is the activity outside?
  • Can I put distance between myself and others?
  • How long will the activity take?
  • Do I feel 100% healthy?
  • How will I get there? Biking, walking, and driving in a car are all safer than public transportation.
  • Do I live with someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19, and would be at high risk if I happened to bring the virus home?
  • What is the value of this activity to me versus the risk I am taking?

Coloradans can visit www.covid19.colorado.gov/risks-benefits to assess the risk level of certain activities.

As Coloradans are spending more time outdoors, the state is reminding everyone to be responsible in Colorado’s natural spaces. Gov. Polis highlighted an initiative from the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) encouraging visitors to show care, not only for destinations but also for the people who call them home. With lines like “How about a ski between you and me?” and “Keep a mask in your pocket, in case you need to rock it,” the CTO is creating a fun and memorable way to remember these important steps. Learn more

Gov. Polis also highlighted a best practice being used by Eagle County and encouraged other counties to do the same. Eagle County has asked every hotel and short-term rental to give a letter to guests upon booking providing critical public health information. The letter asks all travelers to follow the “5 Commitments of Containment” while visiting Eagle County, which are:

  • I will maintain 6 feet of physical distance.
  • I will wash my hands often.
  • I will cover my face in public.
  • I will stay home when I am sick.
  • I will get tested immediately if I have symptoms.

Governor Polis today released guidance to allow outdoor visitation at residential care facilities in order to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. Some of the most important standards:

  • The facility cannot have outdoor visitation if the facility had any recent positive cases or outbreaks and has not completed the required isolation period of 14 days. Facilities with active cases are not allowed to offer visits. 
  • All visits must be scheduled. Prior to the visits, facilities must provide information about COVID-19, and instructions for self-screening on the day of the visit, social distancing and mask-wearing, and details about the visit.
  • The visitor must be greeted outside at a designated area by facility staff, and the staff member will perform temperature check and symptom screening in accordance with current CDC guidelines. 
  • All visitors must wear a face mask or cloth face covering. All staff and the resident must wear a surgical or cloth mask unless doing so would inhibit the resident’s health.  

View the full guidance here

The Governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 113, allowing voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to proceed under certain conditions.

The full news conference can be viewed on the Governor’s Facebook page

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

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19

DENVER – Gov. Polis signed Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coloradans have done a great job wearing masks when leaving the house, staying physically distant from others, and washing our hands but we are only a few short steps ahead of the virus and we need to do better. The data is now starting to show a reversal of some of our gains, the 3-day moving average for cases is now going up in our state,” said Governor Polis. “This emergency extension helps Colorado further support our response efforts and remain prepared in the face of this global pandemic. I encourage all Coloradans to stay vigilant and we will get through this together.” 

Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 109, extending the state of disaster emergency and providing additional funds for response activities due to the presence of coronavirus. 

“Workers in stores and public-facing businesses have been wearing facial masks, and more and more companies are now thankfully requiring that customers wear masks to keep one another safe. Costco, Pizzeria Locale, and more and more Colorado businesses now require customers to wear masks. Today we are further protecting our state and county workers from infection by adding this best practice to the way we as a state do business,” said Governor Polis. “While we are doing our best to help people access public services virtually from the safety of your home, customers needing in-person services at our state and county government facilities will now also be safer by ensuring that those around them wear facial masks and I continue to encourage other businesses to make the right decision to protect their employees and customers by putting in place and enforcing mask requirements.”

“I direct the executive director of CDPHE to issue a public health order requiring that employees, contractors, and others providing services for mass transportation operations and critical businesses where employees, contractors, or others who interact in close proximity with other employees or with the public must: 1. Wear medical or non-medical cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while working, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health,” the executive order reads. 

Gov. Polis also signed Executive Order D 2020 108, to increase the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminate cost-sharing for coronavirus testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees. “This executive order extends Executive Order D 2020 077, which suspends certain statutes to preserve the state’s Medicaid home health workforce and protect Medicaid enrollees from COVID-19 by reducing the need for in-person visits. I also temporarily suspend statutory requirements for cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees,” the Executive Order reads. 

Governor Polis also extended Executive Order D 2020 112, concerning criminal justice as well as Executive Order D 2020 111, issuing emergency rules extending the expiration date of licenses and other documents. 

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19

Gov. Polis takes action in response to COVID-19; supports election cyber security

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis took additional action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to support election cybersecurity in Colorado. 

The Governor signed Executive Order D 2020 105, to extend certain state income tax payment deadlines for all Colorado taxpayers to quickly provide relief from payment and penalties due to COVID-19. 

Gov. Polis also signed Executive Order D 2020 106, activating the Colorado National Guard to assist with election cybersecurity defense efforts during the 2020 state primary election on June 30, 2020.  “The Colorado Secretary of State has requested that the Colorado National Guard Defensive Cyber Operations Element provide election cybersecurity support during the 2020 state primary election,” the Executive Order reads.

“We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect our elections system for all political parties in the upcoming primary,” said Governor Polis. “Not only do we want Colorado to be a state where voting is quick and easy, but we want to make sure it is secure.”

“I’m happy to have the Colorado National Guard’s Cyber Defense Force join our exceptional Election Security team for the June 30 State Primary,” said Secretary of State Jena Griswold. “Thanks to this partnership, Colorado continues to lead the nation in election security while creating a truly formidable group of experts working on behalf of Colorado voters.”

Gov. Polis takes action in response to COVID-19; supports election cyber security

Gov. Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

June 12, 2020 – 5:35 pm release:

DENVER – Gov. Polis signed Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 095 extending changes to the 2020 primary election to limit in-person contact while allowing the elections to proceed safely and without interruption to the Secretary of State’s operations. 

The Governor also extended an Executive Order concerning the temporary suspension of open burning and extended an Executive Order expanding the health care workforce for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities.  

June 14, 2020 – 3:48 pm release:

DENVER – Gov. Polis today signed HB20-1421, Delinquent Interest Payments Property Tax. This bill concerns delinquent interest payments for property tax payments.

BILL #TITLEHOUSE SPONSORSENATE SPONSOR
HB20-1421Delinquent Interest Payments Property TaxReps. Roberts & SaineSens. Donovan & Sonnenberg

June 14, 2020 – 3:49 pm release:

DENVER – Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 104, temporarily suspending certain statutes to maintain eligibility for Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan.

“This Executive Order extends Executive Order D 2020 068, which ensures compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by temporarily suspending certain statutes to allow for continued eligibility or benefits status for those individuals enrolled in Medicaid as of March 18, 2020 and to prevent any changes in eligibility, and directs the Executive Director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing  (HCPF) to delay the collection of annual fees for those enrolled in Colorado’s Children’s Basic Health Plan,” the Executive Order reads. 

June 15, 2020 – 8:10 am release:

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis signed Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor took action and signed Executive Order D 2020 101, ordering state agencies to help prevent evictions of tenants economically harmed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gov. Polis also signed Executive Order D 2020 099, which allows the Department of Local Affairs to continue to provide rental and mortgage assistance and encourages local governments to loosen housing restrictions.  In addition, the Governor signed an Executive Order continuing expedited unemployment insurance claims processing and one providing relief to public utility customers affected by COVID-19.

The Governor signed Executive Order D 2020 103, temporarily suspending certain statutes around signature collection for unaffiliated and independent candidates who are required to file petition with the Secretary of State under Title 1, and authorizing the Secretary of State to create temporary rules to allow for mail and email signature collection. 

Gov. Polis also signed an Executive Order ordering the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes concerning the signature collection for ballot issues and authorizing the Secretary of State to create temporary rules to allow for mail and email signature collection.

Gov. Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Polis, COVID Relief Fund announce fifth round of grants

DENVER – Gov. Polis and the Colorado COVID Relief Fund today announced the fifth round of grants awarded to organizations working with Coloradans impacted by COVID-19. 

“We’re proud to continue supporting Coloradans and organizations who are focused on helping those who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Coloradans have done a great job of slowing the spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing their hands and staying home as much as possible, but the virus is still very much part of our communities. Coloradans have never shied away from a challenge, and I’m proud of the way so many people have stepped up during this challenging time to help others.”

In the fifth round, the COVID Relief Fund awarded $938,625 in Impact to 50 grantees and $1,323,922 in Recovery to 65 grantees for a total of $2,262,547 to 115 grantees. The Relief Fund has distributed $16.3 million to 765 grantees through five rounds.  View the complete list of grantees here and the list of applicants through the first five rounds here. View the list of donors here.

Governor Polis, COVID Relief Fund announce fifth round of grants

Gov. Polis emphasizes the importance of wearing masks, announces Can Do Colorado Community Challenge

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19, where he emphasized reasons why Coloradans should continue wearing masks and also announced the Can Do Colorado Community Challenge. 

“In order for Coloradans to enjoy more of the Colorado we all love, we have to continue wearing masks whenever we leave the house. When we pair social distancing with wide-spread mask-wearing, we put ourselves in a position for success,” said Governor Polis. “This isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting those around us and containing the virus in our communities. I’m proud of the way many businesses are stepping up and getting creative in serving their customers in as safe a manner as possible, it’s a great example of the Colorado spirit. We need more of that innovation and are encouraging more businesses to look at how they can operate in a way that prioritizes the safety of staff and customers.”

Gov. Polis today announced the Can Do Colorado Community Challenge, an extension of Can Do Colorado which spotlights and supports innovative businesses that are finding creative ways to continue serving their customers safely, implementing teleworking, and reducing in-person interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Can Do Colorado Community Challenge calls on local governments and businesses to continue finding safe and sustainable opportunities to jumpstart the local economy and implement these practices until a cure or vaccine is created. The state wants to continue to champion things like teleworking whenever possible; equity for essential workers; and helping communities provide safe spaces for all to walk, bike, dine, and conduct business.

Various departments and organizations throughout state government are offering a wide array of resources, including grant funding and expert technical assistance to help reopen the economy safely while making progress towards important health goals. 

Partnering departments and organizations include the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Energy Office, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Regional Air Quality Council, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments. To learn more about the Challenge and how each agency is supporting, read the fact sheet

The State of Colorado wants to hear first-hand stories about how the behavioral health system is impacting young Coloradans. Coloradans ages 12-26, will have the chance to fill out a survey detailing their mental health experiences. The survey will close on June 22. Given the well-documented uptick in mental and behavioral health issues among young people, it’s more critical than ever to have folks share their stories. In 2019, Gov. Polis directed the Colorado Department of Human Services to spearhead Colorado’s Behavioral Health Task Force to improve Colorado’s behavioral health system. Fill out the survey here or at www.coloradoyouthsurvey.com.    

Gov. Polis also reminded Coloradans to fill out their Census form, whether it’s the one that came through the mail or filled out online. The Census is critical to getting an accurate count of how many people live in the U.S., for determining Colorado’s representation in Congress, and funding from the federal government that every Coloradan benefits from.

Governor Polis highlighted the story of an employee at the Colorado Department of Transportation who contracted COVID-19 and spent 34 harrowing days in the hospital before being able to return home. Mike Clark was in a coma for two weeks, and after waking up he needed physical therapy to swallow and walk again. Mike said, “If there is anything that should prompt you to wear a mask at work, it is the thought of lying in bed, in a hospital, atop a bed pan.” The Governor reiterated Mike’s message reminding all Coloradans to take the simple steps of wearing masks and following social distancing requirements to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. 

View the Governor’s news conference

Gov. Polis emphasizes the importance of wearing masks, announces Can Do Colorado Community Challenge