Colorado Stay At Home Executive Order Updated

07 April 2020 Coronavirus Resource Center Blog
Authors: Coleman T. Lechner

On March 25, 2020, Colorado Governor Polis issued Executive Order 2020 017 for all Coloradans to Stay at Home due to the presence of COVID-19 in the state with exceptions to critical emergency personnel, infrastructure, government functions, and other activities that are exempt from the directives in the Executive Order.  The Executive Order directed the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) to issue a Public Health Order consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order.  On March 25, 2020, the CDPHE initially issued Public Health Order 20-24 that went into effect at 6 a.m. on March 26.  The CDPHE then amended the Public Health Order on the evening of March 26, 2020. Then on April 1, 2020, the CDPHE amended the Public Health Order again which, with the Governor’s announcement on April 6, remains in effect through April 26 unless amended or extended.

Under the Public Health Order, Colorado residents are permitted to visit and patronize: (1) restaurants and bars for take-out; (2) hospitals and medical centers; (3) pharmacies; (4) gas stations; (5) banks; and (6) grocery stores, among other critical businesses.  Residents are also permitted to engage in outdoor physical activity such as hiking and biking while observing requisite social-distancing guidelines, but playgrounds, picnic areas, and other similar areas conducive to public gatherings are closed.

The Public Health Order sets forth in full detail what businesses are deemed critical, and include:

1. Healthcare Operations, including but not limited to:

  • Hospitals, clinics, and walk-in health facilities
  • Medical and dental care, including ambulatory providers
  • Pharmacies

On April 1, 2020, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order ordering the temporary suspension of certain statutes to expand the use of telehealth services due to COVID-19 in Colorado.  That Executive Order can be found here.

2. Critical Infrastructure, including but not limited to:

  • Utilities and electricity, including generation, transmission, distribution and fuel supply
  • Transportation and infrastructure necessary to support critical businesses
  • Hotels, and places of accommodation
  • Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain
  • Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the construction or operation of the categories of products included in this subsection

3. Critical Manufacturing, including but not limited to:

  • Food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
  • Chemicals
  • Computers and computer components
  • Medical equipment, components used in any medical device, supplies or instruments
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sanitary products
  • Telecommunications
  • Agriculture/farms
  • Household paper products
  • Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the processing, functioning, development, manufacture, packaging, or delivery of any of the categories of products included in this subsection
  • Any manufacturing necessary to support a Critical Business

4. Critical Retail, including but not limited to:

  • Grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Restaurants and bars (for take-out/delivery only as necessary under Executive Order D 2020 011 and PHO 20-22, as amended)
  • Marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery pursuant to Executive Order D 2020 011) 
  • Liquor stores
  • Hardware, farm supply, and building material stores
  • Establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products)
  • Establishments engaged in the sale of products that support working from home

5. Critical Services, including but not limited to:

  • Trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal
  • Mail 
  • Self-serve laundromats and garment and linen cleaning services for critical businesses
  • Building cleaning and maintenance
  • Child-care services
  • Automobile rental, auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships that include repair and maintenance, but not in person retail sales)
  • Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, including freight distributors
  • Funeral homes, with strict compliance with Social Distancing Requirements for employees and any attendees of services
  • In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end of life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatest extent possible. Houses of worship may remain open, however, these institutions are encouraged to implement electronic platforms to conduct services whenever possible or to conduct smaller (10 or fewer congregants), more frequent services to allow strict compliance with Social Distancing Requirements

6. News Media

7. Financial and Professional Institutions, including but not limited to:

  • Banks and credit institutions
  • Professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions

8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, including but not limited to:

  • Homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
  • Food banks

9. Construction, including but not limited to:

  • Housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people
  • Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
  • Other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences and other Critical Businesses or Critical Government Functions, and other essential services

10. Defense

  • Defense, security, and intelligence-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor for any of the foregoing
  • Aerospace operations
  • Military operations and personnel
  • Defense suppliers

11. Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses, including but not limited to:

  • Law enforcement
  • Fire prevention and response
  • Building code enforcement
  • Security
  • Emergency management and response
  • General maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
  • Snow removal

12. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:

  • Logistics
  • Technology support for online and telephone services
  • Child-care programs and services
  • Government owned or leased buildings
  • Critical government functions

13. Educational Institutions that Provide Critical Services to Students and the General Public

All non-critical businesses are required to close down their in-person work under this Order but may continue to carry out Minimum Basic Operations.  Minimum Basic Operations include “necessary activities to (1) maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; or (2) facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their Residences are allowable pursuant to this Order.  All businesses that can continue to operate through work at home arrangements with their employees are encouraged to do so.”

While the Governor issued the Executive Order to cover the state, the Executive Order also made clear that “nothing in the Order prevents a local public health authority from issuing an order more protective of public than this Executive Order.  For clarity, any stay at home or similar order issued by a local jurisdiction remains in full force and effect.” Accordingly, several counties in Colorado also have issued public health orders.   

For purposes of enforcement, the Colorado Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Governor’s and the Colorado Department Public Health & Environment orders.  Violators of the public health orders can face up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in county jail.  The Colorado AG has already addressed several businesses for operating as usual despite being defined as non-critical businesses or for operating in violation of the public health orders.  Hobby Lobby was forced to close all of its Colorado locations by April 2, 2020.  The AG sent warning letters to a RE/MAX realtor for requiring homeowners to leave their homes when conducting showings.  Additionally, the AG sent warning letters to Alpha Dental Center in Aurora and Comfort Dental, which has multiple franchisees throughout the state. Both were admonished for performing elective procedures that were prohibited under the March 25 Executive Order.  Comfort Dental was directed to reach out to its Colorado franchisees to notify them that they must strictly comply with of Colorado Public Health and Executive Orders.

For more information, please contact your Foley relationship partner. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the CDC and the World Health Organization.

Foley has created a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional team, which has prepared a wealth of topical client resources and is prepared to help our clients meet the legal and business challenges that the coronavirus outbreak is creating for stakeholders across a range of industries. Click here for Foley’s Coronavirus Resource Center to stay apprised of relevant developments, insights and resources to support your business during this challenging time. To receive this content directly in your inbox, click here and submit the form.

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