Gov. Polis: Colorado is Leading by Example and Taking Action to Address COVID-19

SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2020

CENTENNIAL - Gov. Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19. Yesterday he signed an executive order directing all of Colorado’s non-critical employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50 percent. In accordance with the executive order, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has also issued a public health order

“As long as I am in a position to lead Colorado’s response, I will continue to take bold steps and do everything in my power to protect our medical workers, limit the severity and duration of this crisis, and save the lives of Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis. “In the short term, Coloradans must heed this order and take this gravely and seriously. But my team is moving as fast as they can to build a new Colorado paradigm to ensure that we can look more like South Korea’s successful containment strategy, and less like the public health disaster that is crippling Italy right now. The virus is here in our communities and we need to respond. And in a vacuum of federal leadership, others need to step up and here in Colorado we are doing and will do just that.”

The executive order directs all employers to implement tele-work options to the greatest extent possible. If tele-work is not practical or possible, employers are encouraged to stagger work schedules to reduce the proximity of employees during work hours and to keep employees on payroll. This Executive Order does not apply to any employer that can certify that employees are no closer than six feet from one another during any part of their work hours.

The state as an employer will be meeting this requirement and less than half of non-24 hour facility jobs will be working from the office. This will start tomorrow, Monday, March 23, 2020.

The order takes effect on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at and is set to last through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2020.

The critical workplaces that are exempt include:

  • Health care operations.

  • Critical Infrastructure, including utilities, fuel supply and transmission, public water, telecommunications, transportation, hotels, organizations that provide for disadvantaged people, and food supply chain.

  • Critical Manufacturing, including food, beverages, chemicals, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, agriculture.

  • Critical Retail, including grocery stores, liquor stores, farms, gas stations, restaurants and bars for takeout, marijuana dispensaries but only for medical or curbside delivery, hardware stores.

  • Critical Services, including trash and recycling, mail, shipping, laundromats, child care, building cleaning and maintenance, auto supply and repair, warehouses/distribution, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, animal shelters and rescues. 

  • News Media.

  • Financial Institutions.

  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations.

  • Construction.

  • Defense.

  • Public Safety Services like law enforcement, fire prevention and response, EMTs, security, disinfection, cleaning, building code enforcement, snow removal, auto repair.

  • Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products including logistics, child care, tech support, or contractors with critical government services.

  • “Critical Government Functions.” 

On March 5, CDPHE’s public health laboratory confirmed the first presumptive positive COVID-19 test result in Colorado. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has continued to climb. Colorado needs to take these precautions for the preservation of public health and safety throughout our entire State and to ensure our healthcare delivery system can serve those who are sick.  

Gov. Polis also launched the state’s Innovation Response Team (IRT) to bring together public and private sector resources and innovations to the state’s emergency response to the COVID-19 virus. The Innovation Response team’s initial focus is ramping up a mass testing program for the COVID-19 virus, creating a suite of services for citizens under isolation or quarantine, developing mobile and other technologies to help track the spread of the virus and support infected citizens, and developing locally-sourced alternatives for constrained critical medical supplies.  

Matt Blumberg, a technology entrepreneur who founded and led Broomfield-based email technology company Return Path for the past 20 years, will serve as Interim Director. The Governor has also appointed Boulder-based Venture Capitalist Brad Feld as the Chairman of the IRT’s Private Sector Task Force. The IRT will be within the State’s Emergency Operations Center command structure and reports to Stan Hilkey, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

The Governor also thanked everyone who is stepping up in the, #DoingMyPartCO social media challenge, who has donated and signed up to volunteer at HelpColoradoNow.org and who has donated blood. 

To read the executive order, click here. To read the public health order, click here.  To see frequently asked questions, click here

To view the news conference, please visit the Governor’s Facebook page