DENVER (CBS4)– The day after Colorado’s stay-at-home order expired, Gov. Jared Polis detailed the next phase for the state– the safer-at-home executive order. On Monday afternoon, Polis talked about how we would be moving forward but stressed that life will not return to normal levels like we saw in January or February for some time.
“I believe this is the best path forward for us,” said Polis.READ MORE: Dentist's Office Catches Fire In Greenwood Village
Polis also wanted to alleviate some confusion between the Colorado order and those counties and municipalities that have decided to extend their stay-at-home orders rather than follow the guidelines set forth by the state.
“We need to work together,” said Polis.
As of Monday afternoon, there have been 695 deaths in Colorado from coronavirus with 13,870 cases in the state.
Polis said that the reason for letting the stay-at-home order expire and moving forward with the safer-at-home order is because the state has leveled off with the number of new cases averaging about 300 per day. He said that is due to Coloradans staying home to reduce the spread.
Polis said that stay-at-home was the most severe step that was necessary to keep the virus from spreading, prepare our health care capacity and get ready for the next step.
“Extending the stay-at-home order on a statewide level would not reduce the severity without continuing ongoing interventions to flatten the curve,” said Polis.
Polis also recognized how difficult the past 32 days have been and said that all the effort was worth it because, “We did it. We flattened the curve.”
As for looking ahead, he said that Coloradans can still have social interactions but fewer than normal. He said that it’s a more sustainable way to live because people have to get back to work and be able to live their lives.
“We’re in this for the long haul,” said Polis. “And it’s likely that we’ll be here for a while.”
Polis reiterated there is no reason to keep businesses shuttered if there is no benefit to it.
“The goal was never to eradicate the virus from the U.S.,” said Polis. “It’s unrealistic.”
He also talked about how important this next phase is to keep those restrictions from coming back.
“It won’t be easy going forward,” said Polis. “It means we’ve avoided a catastrophe.”
He also said he will be keeping an eye on the numbers every day and if those numbers start to rise, it may be necessary to put those restrictions back in place.
“We did a terrific job at staying at home, that’s not blowing smoke… the numbers wouldn’t be what they are today if you hadn’t done your part,” Polis said. “If we slack off, if Coloradans let up… then it’s likely that additional restrictions will have to come back.”
Polis also stressed that older adults 65 and up need to continue to stay at home during this safer-at-home period to keep their risk low.
Gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited.READ MORE: Experts Say To Water Landscaping As Colorado Faces Abnormal Warm And Dry Spell: 'If Roots Don't Get Moisture, They Die'
Polis also urged everyone to continue to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Nightclubs, bars, and gyms will remain closed for the time being. Restaurants can reopen for delivery, curbside service. A timeline for when those businesses will be allowed to full reopen has not been released. Polis said if things go well, restaurants may be able to open to limited dining by the end of May.
Elective surgery, medical, and dental services have resumed. Salons and dog grooming services are also allowed to resume services.
Polis also said looking forward to the fall school semester, school districts are developing sustainable social distancing guidelines for when classes resume this fall.
He also discussed how action will be taken for those businesses that fail to comply with the health orders and criteria outlined by the governor’s office.
“Businesses as well, that are disregarding the safety regulations, will have their licenses revoked,” said Polis.
Polis said that employees must wear masks, take more breaks to sanitize and wash their hands and not come to work if they are sick. Customers also must have 6-foot distancing in place and have access to hand sanitizer.
He also stressed that 50% of an office workforce returning to work is a ceiling, not a floor. Polis hoped that those businesses that can operate with telecommuting or a remote work force do so.
“We want people to continue to operate as safe as possible to stay as safe as possible,” said Polis.
Additional Information from Gov. Jared Polis:
Changes happening during Safer at Home will be phased in, with different changes going into effect April 27, May 1, and May 4.
Monday, April 27
Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery. Real estate home showings can resume. Voluntary or elective medical, dental, and veterinary surgeries and procedures may resume if facilities are following required safety protocols.
Friday, May 1
Retail businesses can phase-in a public opening if they are implementing best practices.
Personal services can open if they are implementing best practices.
Monday, May 4
Offices can reopen at 50% reduced in-person staffing capacity, if best practices are being implemented to protect the health and safety of employees. Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting at higher levels if possible. Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements.
Colorado is a diverse state and the Governor knows each community will have different needs. The Safer at Home order outlines the options local governments will have when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities.
Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer at Home to match the State.
Local governments can go further than the State, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.
Local governments can relax guidelines more than the State. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction, and elected leadership.
Read the Safer at Home Executive Order here.
The Governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 045, which will allow medical, dental, and veterinary voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to resume as long as the health care facility or other setting is following the required safety protocols as set out in the Executive Order. This goes into effect Monday, April 27, 2020. Under this Executive Order, facilities performing these procedures must establish a plan to reduce or stop voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures if there is a surge of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which they are located. CDPHE will determine the conditions that constitute a surge. Read the Executive Order here.
Earlier this week, Gov. Polis announced the New Normal Advisory Board. The Board will advise the Governor and CDPHE on coordinating and harmonizing policies and rules designed to maximize social distancing during the Safer at Home phase. The Board shall focus particularly on how local jurisdictions and local public health agencies can coordinate with the State on public education efforts that aim to maximize compliance and enforcement efforts for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Executive Order B 2020 002 here.MORE NEWS: Denver Weather: It Finally Feels Like December, But The Unprecedented Wait For Snow Continues