Moving Colorado into the next phase of fighting the coronavirus and toward reopening has started, but Gov. Jared Polis cautioned Monday “we’re far from normal.”
While Coloradans are no longer being ordered to stay home, Polis is strongly encouraging them to do so. Under the public health order known as Safer at Home, travel should be limited to going no more than 10 miles from home, except for work, the governor said during a Denver news conference.
“You can’t go just anywhere in the state,” Polis said. “Some counties that have had high viral rates need more time to get on their feet and we need to be respectful of that.”
The Safer at Home order follows the Stay at Home order that expired Sunday.
As of Monday, businesses such as shops and other retailers were allowed to offer curbside services to customers. Real estate home showings could resume and elective medical or dental procedures could resume with proper safety protocols.
On Friday, businesses can phase-in public openings and personal services such as salons can open if social distancing and other safety measures are followed.
“May 1 is a very important day,” Polis said.
That’s when retail stores can open with measures similar to what grocery stores are implementing, such as installing floor decals to space out customers in checkout lines, limiting the number of customers inside and providing disinfecting products for customer use.
Businesses can open a little more starting May 4 when 50% of a company’s workforce can return to offices with telecommuting continued where possible.
Restaurants and bars remain closed to dine-in options and “there is no date” set for when they might reopen, Polis said.
People who do leave their homes should continue to wear masks when in public places and maintain social distancing measures. Groups of 10 or more are still banned, including at gyms and churches, and schools will continue distance learning under the governor’s new order. Public campgrounds across the state will remain closed.
Colorado counties have the option to match state guidelines, implement stricter guidelines, or further relax restrictions. To relax restrictions, counties must follow specific guidelines such as show a very low number of cases each day, prove cases have declined over the previous 14 days, and have local hospitals prove they can treat each patient accordingly. Denver’s Stay at Home order has been extended until May 8.
The Safer at Home order is set to expire in 30 days. But the state could revert to a Stay at Home order if conditions change, Polis cautioned.
“If folks don’t follow social distancing, cases could start rising again…,” Polis said. “We all need to do our best social distancing and wear masks because not everyone wants the stay-at-home order to come back.”
As of Monday, state health officials reported 13,879 cases of coronavirus diagnosed, but that number could be up to 10 times higher because of limited testing availability. In El Paso County, 879 individuals have been diagnosed with the disease. The state had reported 706 deaths, including 68 in El Paso County.
The decision to reopen businesses in the state requires shared information with other states, Polis said Monday in announcing Colorado will join California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon in a pact among Western state governors who will work together to fight the coronavirus with decisions based on science, not politics.
Coloradans “have important information to share with and to gain from other states,” Polis said in a news release.”W must have a multifaceted and bold approach in order to slow the spread of the virus, to keep our people safe and help our economy rebound.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak also announced Monday that his state would join the pact, recently formed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, all Democrats.
Goals of the pact include protecting vulnerable populations; ensuring capacity to care for those with the virus; mitigating nondirect coronavirus health impacts with an eye toward disadvantaged populations; and protecting the general public by ensuring any lifting of restrictions is accompanied by a system for testing, tracking and isolating.
All states in the pact are currently under stay at home orders except for Colorado, though some states’ orders — Nevada and Washington — are set to expire in days, unless extended. Others’ — California and Nevada — do not yet have an end date.
This content was originally published here.