Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extends safer-at-home order encouraging outdoor recreation
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a new executive order Monday extending the coronavirus restrictions under the state’s safer-at-home order while lifting restrictions on vulnerable residents and encouraging more Coloradans to get outdoors.
The new phase extends through July 1 and allows for increased travel and outdoor recreating as long as people continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from people outside their household.
“While we are all still safer at home, we are also able to practice greater social distancing in our great outdoors than in confined indoor spaces,” Polis said in a news release. “It may feel like we are getting back to normal, but the virus is still here, and it could surge back the moment we let our guard down. We are still far from normal.”
The order lifts some restrictions on vulnerable Coloradans — those 65 years and older and those with preexisting health conditions — who were previously required to stay home except for essential activities.
Vulnerable Coloradans can now also leave their residences to recreate outside, as long as they wear face coverings and remain 6 feet away from others.
Tracking Coronavirus in Colorado: Larimer County now has 696 cases, 28 deaths
The order continues to protect vulnerable individuals from being penalized for not returning to work or being required to return in-person to work.
While the order encourages all Coloradans to recreate safely outdoors, those who travel outside their community should be aware of any travel restrictions in place at their destination.
Public gatherings of more than 10 people are still not permitted, and businesses are still urged to allow employees to telecommute whenever possible.
Polis also directed the state’s department of higher education to continue to work with the state’s health department to identify post-secondary programs that can’t be taught remotely and require some in-person instruction.
Colorado State University has announced plans to resume in-person learning in August, following social distancing and mask requirements, then breaking for fall break and finishing the semester online after Thanksgiving.
The state’s previous safer-at-home order was set to expire Monday night.
Earlier Monday, state public health officials released modeling data warning of a worse second peak in coronavirus cases later this year than what Colorado saw in the first peak in late April.
“Coloradans have to remain diligent, and must continue staying home or in the great outdoors away from others as much as possible, wearing masks when we leave the house, and washing our hands,” Polis said in the news release. “Over these next few weeks, each and every one of us has a responsibility to protect ourselves and others, especially as we begin venturing out onto our trails and open space.”
Modeling data showed all Coloradans — especially those age 60 and older — need to continue high levels of social distancing through November to prevent exceeding the state’s hospital capacity. Public health officials said older Coloradans would likely have to maintain 80% social distancing, or cutting their normal social interactions by 80%, which is what the state maintained on average through the stay-at-home period.
New guidance for short-term rentals, personal services and child care
Short-term rentals can resume operating statewide under new guidance released Monday, following increased cleaning and social distancing rules. Larimer County had already allowed for short-term rentals to resume operation under their variance request, which was approved by the state last week.
Statewide, personal services like salons can increase their capacity to 50% or up to 50 people — whichever is fewer — starting June 4. Larimer County’s variance request previously received approval for up to 30% capacity. The county will get to choose which restriction to follow.
Beginning June 4, child care facilities may begin to operate under their full licensed capacity, according to new state guidelines. Increased cleaning, distancing and mask-wearing for employees is still required.
Feedback requested on restrictions for places of worship, recreation
State officials are finalizing guidance for relaxing restrictions on places of worship, personal recreation and the outdoor industry. The deadline for providing feedback is noon Wednesday.
Under the draft guidance, places of worship could host up to 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less, with all people social distancing and wearing face coverings if they’re able.
Draft guidelines for recreation includes reopening playgroups, basketball and tennis courts for up to 10 people at a time, with signs posted throughout the facility reminding people of capacity and social distancing guidelines. Organized sports could also resume statewide under these guidelines, with capacity limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. These guidelines would also allow outdoor swimming pools and indoor gyms and recreation centers to reopen with limited capacities.
Guided outdoor recreation facilities could also reopen following social distancing and mask-wearing requirements, if these draft guidelines are accepted. That includes rafting, horseback riding and other guided outdoor activities.
Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at Coloradoan.com/subscribe.
This content was originally published here.