DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis held a press conference Monday to update residents on Colorado’s coronavirus response.
The update came as Colorado businesses begin to reopen under the state’s safer-at-home order. Offices can reopen at 50% reduced in-person staffing capacity Monday, as long as best practices are being implemented to protect the health and safety of employees. However, businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting at higher levels if possible.
The elderly and vulnerable populations should continue to stay at home.
Gov. Polis started his coronavirus briefing to the state by remembering aurora paramedic Paul Carey. The 66-year-old went to New York to help fight the coronavirus and his life ultimately taken by the very thing he was trying to stop.
“When one of the greatest crises of our lifetime struck, he did not hesitate,” Polis said. “He knew he was risking his own life and safety, but Carey did it like so many other front line workers because he saw people in need and raised his hand and said I am up for the challenge of helping, what a statement of character!”
Polis said our tribute to Carey should be continuing to take the virus seriously and thanked all other frontline heath care workers for their sacrifice, as well.
“We have no option. We have to get this right. We have to get this right as a state, having a humanitarian crisis and mass deaths on our hand is not a valid option, and preventing people from earning income and destroying our economy is not a valid option,” Polis said.
Gov. Polis said Colorado has already made a successful effort and the numbers are moving in the right direction.
“As you venture out this is a time, not for anxiety and not for fear but for justified caution,” said Polis.
He announced the creation of the Governor’s advisory committee including leaders from communities of different sizes including Pueblo’s Mayor Nick Gradisar. Their job? Keeping people as safe as possible as we go about our lives.
Gov. Polis also established an advisory committee that he calls a bipartisan group of large and small community leaders, sheriffs, and fire chiefs.
Pueblo’s Mayor Nick Gradisar was one of those chosen. He sent FOX21 a statement about being involved saying:
“I am pleased to be selected as a member of the New Normal Advisory Committee that will help the Governor develop sustainable policies to combat the Coronavirus. I look forward to working with the other members from throughout the state in advising the Governor on recommended practices and policies that will get us through this crisis.”Mayor Nick Gradisar
Polis continued to stress the importance of wearing masks when you go out to stores, and on trails, even having a little fun with it.
“Today is a very special day for nerds like me. It’s Star Wars day, May the 4th be with you,” Polis said. “Darth Vader would be very safe right now despite his preexisting respiratory condition. And stay one lightsaber’s legnth away it will keep you from getting your arm chopped off, but also keep you from getting coronavirus.”
Polis said the state health department created an online testing directory including community-based testing sites. Tap here to see the map.
The Governor said he is still working on guidance for restaurants and bars and says he is anticipating a reopening in mid-May or June 1.