DENVER — Governor Jared Polis held a remote press conference Friday to give an update on the state’s coronavirus response.
Polis reminded Coloradans about the importance of wearing masks during Safer-at-Home, and how we all play a critical role in protecting others.
“All Coloradans should be wearing masks in public, it’s the smart thing to do and Coloradans are very smart,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “Not only are masks critical for protecting ourselves and those around us, they are a key to safely opening up more and more of our economy and society. We are going to be in this for the long haul, and wearing masks is an easy step for all of us to take.”
The governor also said on Friday that restaurants could re-open as early as Memorial Day weekend and Colorado schools are expected to return to in-person classes in the fall.
“We are working with the Colorado Department of Education to provide guidance to school districts about safe in classroom discussion. Meaning how they can work too, reconfigure their schedules, minimize contact during passing time, space desks appropriately in the room, have smaller class sizes, or staggered schedules where possible,” Polis said.
Back in April, Polis said he’d like to see restaurants re-open in mid-May hoping for a ‘phased-in’ approach — with no set date. On Friday the Governor said he’s still optimistic that restaurants will open this month for dine-in services, but that will be decided once the data is available over the next few weeks following the safer-at-home guidelines.
“We don’t have a crystal ball,” he said. “And we’ll see where that data emerges.”
The Governor also discussed ColoradoMaskProject.com which has been a helpful resource for Coloradans providing instructions on how to make a mask, and providing a list of retailers where one can be purchased.
The Colorado Mask Project is a collaboration between state government, private sector donors, NGOs, and maker communities to deliver non-medical cloth masks to vulnerable populations and essential workers around the state.
So far, 82,024 masks have been delivered or are in the process of delivery to 162 recipient organizations across 42 counties, and many more are on the way. All masks have gone to vulnerable populations and critical workforce with a high risk of exposure and limited access to protective equipment.
Recipients have included:
- Homeless shelters and rescue missions
- Assisted living centers, elderly care, mental health, and nursing homes
- Domestic violence safehouses
- Immigrant and refugee centers
- State Early Childhood Councils
- Public school workers providing meals for low-income families
- Child care providers
- Veteran care centers
- And other community organizations
The Governor also discussed a new initiative: Can Do Colorado.
This will provide guidance and tips to businesses about increasing teleworking capabilities, and highlight businesses that are being creative and going above and beyond to run their businesses safely and remotely. The Governor highlighted ActivCore Physical Therapy and Performance and The Glam House Salon as two businesses that are stepping up to protect their customers and their communities.
Visit www.candocolorado.org to learn more.
The state is also launching “Connect to Care Jobs” through the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), in partnership with ADvancing States, to match health care job seekers with immediate openings in residential care settings.
Many Coloradans are looking for work, and these facilities are in need of extra support during this challenging time. Job seekers should visit connecttocarejobs.com to apply.
Job seekers can create a profile identifying the position they are interested in, the distance they are willing to travel for the position, and other professional skills and experience to make sure the right person can be matched to the right position.
The Governor reminded Coloradans who have lost health insurance due to job loss, that there are resources available during this difficult time. Coloradans should check to see if they qualify for Health First Colorado — Colorado’s Medicaid Program — and/or the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) if they have dependents.
Visit CO.gov/PEAK to find out if you’re eligible. You can also apply by mail, at your county’s department of health and human services, at an application site, or over the phone by calling 1-800-221-3943.
If you’re not eligible for these public programs, you can still sign up for health insurance on the individual market at connectforhealthco.com or by calling 855-752-6749.