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:
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:
3. Critical Manufacturing, including but not limited to:
4. Critical Retail, including but not limited to:
5. Critical Services, including but not limited to:
6. News Media
7. Financial and Professional Institutions, including but not limited to:
8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, including but not limited to:
9. Construction, including but not limited to:
11. Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses, including but not limited to:
12. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:
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.
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