Gov. Polis outlines initial plan to reopen Colorado

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DENVER — Governor Jared Polis announced Monday during a press conference that his stay-at-home order will expire on April 26 but some restrictions will remain in place.

Polis made sure to give credit where it’s due, stating, “It’s really a testimony to your work, staying at home whenever you can, having social distancing, and hopefully wearing masks when you go out, you taking on that individual responsibility is showing great success.”     

There will be a transition period through May 4 into what the governor called a “safer at home” set of guidelines. Polis compares the stay-at-home period as a sprint and the time ahead as the marathon. He suggests reducing daily encounters, limiting social interactions and continuing social distancing.

“Coloradans in every corner of our state have stepped up and taken responsible steps to help bend the curve of this pandemic and we are grateful for these shared efforts that helped save lives and slow the spread. The deadly virus will continue to be with us, and we must wear masks and socialize less to avoid its rapid growth. For seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, it’s important to stay home whenever possible through May. Though we are moving into a sustainable way of living during this pandemic, there are tough days ahead,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This is a marathon – not a sprint, which was the easy part – now we need to pace ourselves and these distancing measures need to be sustainable. We’re going to have to learn to live with coronavirus for a while, but we must live not with anxiety or fear, but with extreme caution, especially if you are a member of a vulnerable population. I am thrilled that we are on the path to a sustainable way of living more safely, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t the potential that we have to return to a more cautious approach if the state sees a spike in new cases.” 

He is allowing retail to reopen with some restrictions still in place but is extending the closure of bars and restaurants to an undecided date. Personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo parlors, will be able to reopen with restrictions in the “safer at home” phase.

Gatherings are still limited to less than 10. Offices are now able to open at 50% capacity with precautions still being taken.

Polis discusses being able to live in a sustainable way with precautions and not anxiety. He suggests citizens remain at home if they can and to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.

Polis announced allowing Eagle County to reopen and will personally be there as the restrictions are lifted on Thursday or Friday. Gov. Polis said the county has had a decrease of cases for 14 days.

The modeling shows that the Stay-at-Home order has reduced social interactions by 75-80% since it went into effect. Currently, Colorado has 10,000 reported cases, however, the state believes the real number is closer to 65,000-75,000 Coloradans — about 1.1%-1.3% of the population.

There are three levels of social distancing, which include: Staying at Home, Safer at Home, and Protect our Neighbors.

On April 27, the state will be moving onto the Safer at Home phase. During this phase Coloradans will no longer be ordered to stay home, but are still strongly encouraged to do so. Vulnerable populations and seniors must continue staying home except when absolutely necessary and K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction until the end of the school year.  

It’s important to note that there may be a fluctuation between the levels to recover from outbreaks, meaning that Colorado could return to the Stay-at-Home phase if there is a significant increase in cases or spread of the virus.

Local governments will have the opportunity to implement stricter restrictions, particularly those who may be experiencing an outbreak. 

For more details on what the Safer at Home phase of the pandemic looks like, please view the Governor’s presentation here

The complete layout of what will change after April 26 was outlined in the governor’s slides and charts:

FULL PRESS CONFERENCE:

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