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Polis, Colorado health department release more ‘safer-at-home’ coronavirus guidelines

Sady Swanson
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 7:28 PM EDT Apr 27, 2020

More guidance on what the “safer-at-home” order actually means for businesses and customers came Monday from Colorado’s governor and a new public health order. 

Colorado’s stay-at-home order expired Sunday, and Monday began the next phase of the state’s coronavirus response — safer-at-home — which will allow some businesses to slowly reopen beginning this week.

Monday’s biggest change was for non-essential retail businesses, which were allowed to reopen with curbside pickup and delivery. One-on-one in-person real estate showings could also resume.

Because of successful social distancing measures, cases in Colorado have dropped enough to make slowing reopening the state safer, Polis said Monday.

“It’s a time not for anxiety, not for fear, but for justified caution,” Polis said.

FAQ: What do new ‘safer-at-home’ coronavirus guidelines mean for you in Larimer County?

Colorado’s cases plateaued around 300 new cases per day in mid-March and mid-April, Polis said during a Monday news conference. Hospitalization and case growth rates have also decreased significantly, Polis said.

Initially, a Coloradan with the virus was estimated to spread it to three or four people, but now someone with the virus is on average spreading it to about one other person, Polis said. 

“We no longer have the alarming exponential threat we had a month ago,” Polis said.

The data shows that Colorado met the goals set by officials a month ago by slowing the spread of the virus, building up health care capacity and growing testing capacity and health care supplies, Polis said adding that he plans to share a deeper look at the state’s testing efforts Wednesday.

Under the new “safer-at-home” phase, Coloradans are no longer required to stay at home, but they are urged to continue staying at home except for essential activities. More businesses, including retailers and some personal services, will be allowed to slowly reopen under strict guidelines.

Here are some of the guidelines listed in the safer-at-home public health order issued Monday:

By Friday, if certain requirements are met, retailers can open for limited in-person business along with some personal services, including salons, tattoo shops and pet groomers. 

All employees are required under this order to wear masks while working, Polis said, and he encouraged customers to also wear masks. Masks are required for customers of personal services, and Larimer County is also requiring them any time a customer enters a business. 

“You need to wear a mask when you’re out in public,” Polis reiterated, as he has multiple times during news conferences. 

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Other businesses that won’t reopen with this order include dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs and gyms, Polis said. However, personal training in groups of four or less can resume. 

While he hopes to have guidance soon on when these businesses can reopen, even in a limited capacity, whether it is safe to do so won’t be known until after officials see data on how this new phase works in Colorado, Polis said.

If cases start rising again and hospitals begin to get overwhelmed, it is likely the state will have to take a step back, Polis said. But if people continue to socially distance, limit their interactions and wear masks in public, he said the state should be able to manage the virus while slowing reopening the state economy. 

For more information about the safer-at-home guidelines, visit

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Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support our work and local journalism with a digital subscription at

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