AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado is gradually reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the manner of doing that is anything but uniform. A good example is the city of Aurora, which sits in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
One of those counties has gotten the OK to reopen, but the other two remain under shutdown orders. It’s a good thing they put the sign that says Aurora in the middle of the street as you enter into the city from Denver.
According to the Tri-County Health Department, Douglas County businesses can open on May 1 and Adams and Arapahoe county businesses can open on May 9.
“What city and county are we in?” CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked a woman.
“The city of Aurora, Arapahoe I believe? Adams?” she replied.
That’s the point. On one side of East Colfax Avenue it’s Adams County and on the other side it’s Arapahoe County. Those counties are still under the stay-at-home orders.
“Lives are first, money comes and goes,” said a restaurant owner on the Arapahoe County side of Aurora.
The orders to stay closed come from the Tri-County Health Department.
“I think it’s confusing as to whether they can be open or not,” said one woman who lives in the Inspiration development in southeast Aurora.
No wonder, she too lives in the same city, but in a part located in Douglas County, which can be open due to fewer cases there, according to health officials.
If all this sounds confusing, just ask Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman.
“They issued an order, which I think is more about politics than it is about public health,” Coffman told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
When Tri-County Health issued its first stay at home order, Douglas County leaders objected and there was even talk of leaving the health agency. Now the county is being allowed to open up even as other areas under the health department’s jurisdiction remain shut down.
“It is critical for our economic health and our physical and mental health to begin to carefully reopen our businesses,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “We are still expected to stay home as much as possible under both the stay-at-home and the safer-at-home orders. Why? Because COVID-19 doesn’t read orders, it’s a virus, it just needs you to transfer it to other people. Stay at home as much as possible; stay vigilant about cleaning, handwashing, and masking when in public places and businesses; and stay healthy!”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued detailed guidance for the reopening of specific industries, including child care facilities, field services, office-based businesses, personal services and retail. In addition, Tri-County Health Department released guidance for retail businesses offering curb-side service and delivery, which began Monday in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
Health officials still recommend businesses use telecommuting and flexible schedules to the greatest extent possible.