Colorado shops outside metro Denver can reopen for curbside pickup, real estate agents can show homes, and surgeries can resume Monday after Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday ordered a shift from “stay at home” to “safer at home.”
But Coloradans still should stay home as much as possible and wear face masks in public, Polis stressed.
Residents “have been effective” in slowing the spread of COVID-19, he said in a statement announcing three new executive orders just hours before a statewide stay-at-home order expired. “But life will remain much more dangerous than usual these next few months. …. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and must find a way of living that is psychologically and economically sustainable for Coloradans.”
Polis’ loosening of restrictions doesn’t apply in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Boulder counties, where local authorities have extended stay-home orders through May 8.
State public health officials in recent weeks have said they are worried about a resurgence of COVID-19 between July and fall, when the seasonal flu typically turns up.
Colorado’s total confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 13,441 on Sunday and deaths rose to 680. Currently, 2,438 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide with “451 adult critical care ventilators in use” and 143 outbreaks inside facilities, state health officials said. Nationwide, the numbers rose to 939,000 cases and 53,000 deaths.
The challenge in a phased reopening of the state, Polis said in issuing the executive orders, will be finding and settling into a way of living that can be sustained over several months. The new order expires in late May, but he said it could be extended.
Starting Monday, potential homebuyers can resume viewing homes in person, and retailers can make sales with curbside pickup. Medical, dental and veterinary procedures can resume, following safety protocols.
On Friday, retail businesses can open as long as they implement guidelines to ensure physical distancing, the orders say.
On May 4, offices can reopen at 50% capacity if safety practices are ensured. The orders encourage businesses to rely on remote work when possible.
Still, many facilities shut down over the past six weeks must stay shut, including gyms, spas and nightclubs.
Under the orders, local governments can impose stricter rules to slow the spread of the virus and protect communities, as Denver and surrounding suburbs have done.
Local governments also can relax rules under the new state orders — if they prove to state officials that COVID-19 infection rates have declined over 14 days. Local officials would have to apply to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment and include a plan approved by a local public health authority, local hospitals and elected officials. Eagle County has applied for and received permission for a relaxation of restrictions.
In Weld County, which has been hit hard with more than 1,200 confirmed cases and 69 deaths, local officials have said some businesses may reopen Monday in defiance of the governor’s orders.
This content was originally published here.