7/30/20

Governor Jared Polis and IKEA Retail U.S. announced that the company is calculating unemployment claims submitted by their employees and donating that money back to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund. The company is donating nearly $1 million, one of the largest contributions to the Fund to date. 


“I’m so proud of the way Coloradans have stepped up to support helpcoloradonow.org and one another during this difficult time. In addition to the generosity of so many individuals, creative partnerships like this are another important way that we can make a difference in our communities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I want to thank IKEA for this donation and the support it will bring to Coloradans who are being directly impacted by this global pandemic.”


“We are appreciative of the ongoing support from the state of Colorado, including the unemployment funds paid to our co-workers who were furloughed in the early weeks of the pandemic,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA Retail U.S. president. “People are the heart of our business, and the state unemployment benefits helped IKEA US co-workers during a difficult time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and we’ve decided to “pay it forward” to support the ongoing COVID relief efforts in our local communities.”


On August 8, the fund will be accepting a sixth round of grants. The Fund will be accepting tiered applications for coordinated organizations, up to $100,000. The Governor encourages Coloradans to donate and help meet the needs of all Coloradans, and also encourages organizations that are in need of funding to apply for funds in Round Six.


The following organizations are just a few that have received support from the COVID Relief Fund:


Eastern Plains Healthcare Consortium is a collaboration of rural hospitals in the eastern part of the state serving Adams, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Elbert, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Yuma Counties. The organization requested $15,000 in funding to set up a centralized call system where COVID-19 cases that are transferred to hospitals on the eastern plains from other health systems are connected with a team of case managers. This will not only foster collaboration across health systems but help to build capacity at our rural hospitals.


Rotary Club of the North Fork Valley Foundation received $3,600 from the fund for a program that takes fresh food grown by North Fork Valley farmers -- including fresh greens, seasonal vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheeses, and meats -- and distributes it to local families in need through Farm Runners and the Old River Trading Post, two North Fork businesses currently addressing hunger in children, their families and older adults. They’ve already been able to donate around 1,000 boxes of food.


Aurora Community Connection requested $50,000 from the fund and with that money, they were able to pay all or part of one month’s rent for 28 families and help another 42 families gain access to rent assistance resources available through other agencies. With the funding, the ACC’s family resource center is continuing to provide housing support, utility support and food access to working families experiencing partial or complete wage loss due to the pandemic. By offering resource and referral services within a comprehensive case management framework,

ACC is working with families to not only access essential resources in the short-term, but to provide stability so families can be self-sufficient beyond the immediate crisis.

  

For more information about the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, visit www.helpcoloradonow.org.

 

7/30/20

 

Governor Jared Polis today provided an update to Coloradans on the state’s response to COVID-19.


“Scientists and researchers are still learning new things every day about this novel virus and there is mounting evidence that persistent damage can occur to the lungs, brain and heart. So I continue to encourage my fellow Coloradans to do their part to slow the spread of the virus for the sake of our own lives, the lives of our loved ones and our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Wear masks, wash your hands, avoid large-scale gatherings and make smart decisions so we can crush this virus.”


Governor Polis began today’s briefing by honoring the life of his former colleague and civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis. 


Governor Jared Polis announced today that in addition to providing medical-grade masks to public school teachers this Fall, the State will also provide masks for private school teachers across the state. The State announced a specific partnership with the Colorado Archdioceses of Denver to provide 2,000 masks per week to their 48 schools. 


Governor Polis also announced that the Attorney General’s Office has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Live Entertainment, the company responsible for the dangerous, large-scale events in Weld County this past weekend.


The Governor highlighted a variety of the potential long-term health effects that people who have contracted COVID-19 are seeing including damage to the lungs, brain and heart. The Governor implored Coloradans to continue protecting themselves and others by practicing social distancing requirements, wearing masks and washing hands.


The Governor announced that IKEA is making one of the largest contributions to date to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, nearly $1 million. The company is calculating the unemployment claims submitted by their employees and donating that money back to the Relief Fund. To date, the fund has raised more than $22 million and distributed $16.4 million to more than 750 organizations serving Coloradans in all 64 counties. On August 8, the fund will be accepting a sixth round of grants. The Fund will be accepting tiered applications for coordinated organizations, up to $100,000. The Governor encouraged Coloradans to donate and help meet the needs of all Coloradans, and also encouraged organizations that are in need of funding to apply for funds in Round Six.

 

7/28/20

 

Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19.


 

“The key to our success continues to be a strong response at the individual and community level. In order to avoid unnecessary loss of life and more economic pain, we are looking to our local governments to lead during this time,” said Governor Jared Polis. “No one wants a major setback and I implore our local health agencies and local governments to use the tools that have been provided to them and take more ownership of the local response. We are all in this together and we’re going to have to work together to get through it, and the state will be a strong partner.”


 

The Governor and the state’s top public health experts look at four metrics when thinking about next steps:

  • Predictive Model from the CU School of Public Health

  • Hospital Capacity

  • Growth in Cases

  • Testing Results


 

The University of Colorado’s predictive model shows that social distancing is needed at a level of at least 55%, preferably 65%, to avoid overwhelming our hospital system. Colorado is seeing hospitalizations tick back up, and as of July 16, 2020, the state’s ICU bed capacity is stabilizing at 22-30%. Currently, Colorado’s new case average has exceeded 500 each day. Several days last week showed new case counts of more than 600, close to what the state saw in April. These are all critical factors that are considered when making decisions about what Colorado needs to do to mitigate the spread of this virus. 


 

Governor Polis urged municipalities and local public health agencies to take swift, targeted action to address rising case numbers and avoid drastic action at the statewide level.


 

Colorado has granted variances to a number of counties, but those with higher case counts will lose their variance if they are unable to reverse these trends within two weeks. To reverse these trends, the Governor encourages counties to follow their mitigation plans. These plans include strategies such as social distancing orders, increased testing and contact tracing, enforcement of social distancing and mask wearing, and increased education. So far, 15 counties have been notified that they have exceeded the threshold, and they have two weeks to reverse their disease trend in order to keep their variance. If they are not able to reverse the trend, the variance may be revoked and the county will have to follow the Safer at Home order. 


Gov. Polis also announced that Coloradans with school-enrolled children will begin to receive food benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which began last week. More than 360,000 Colorado children are eligible for P-EBT benefits, which will reimburse families for the free and reduced-price meals that students missed while schools were closed in March, April, and May because of COVID-19.


Governor Polis also extended an Executive Order suspending certain statutes concerning taxpayer filing requirements for certain taxable property, as well as one that allows food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support the movement of commercial vehicle activities. 


 

View the Governor’s presentation and the full news conference

7/28/20

 

Governor Jared Polis today urged members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to ensure funding is provided to state and local governments in the new federal stimulus package Congress is considering. In the letter, Gov. Polis outlines requests for state and local aid, new investments in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), the RESTART Act, additional support for expanding testing and contact tracing, funding for educational challenges, and housing assistance. 

 

“As we are continuing our response and recovery from the economic impacts of this pandemic, we are now facing deep budget cuts to programs that are, now more than ever, critically important to millions of Coloradans who may be struggling to meet the daily needs of their lives. The continued uncertainty regarding the extension and funding of key federal programs for Coloradans is making many of our neighbors contemplate extremely difficult choices regarding their financial futures,” Governor Polis writes.  

 

“I support the call of the nonpartisan National Governors Association, and urge you to allocate at least $500 billion in direct and flexible relief to states, plus additional funding for local governments.  Together, this funding will make a profound impact on the state’s and local governments’ ability to offset revenue losses due to the impacts of COVID-19. It will assist the state and local governments to continue our response and recovery to ensure public health, education, safety, and get Coloradans back to work,” the letter continues.  

 

“In any upcoming stimulus package, I also encourage Congress to identify opportunities to temporarily waive state and local matching requirements for a number of federal grant and formula funded programs. This provides a no-cost opportunity to ensure federal dollars keep going out the door to vitally important uses, even at a time when state and local budgets are stretched to capacity,” the Governor writes. 
 

“Together, we can continue the ongoing and collaborative efforts to address the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and work to secure additional relief that will help Coloradans land back on their feet. My team and I stand ready to assist you in your efforts to secure assistance for all Coloradans during this difficult economic time,” writes Governor Polis. 


In the letter, the Governor thanked the Colorado’s Congressional Delegation for their ongoing partnership and continued to urge them to support critical funding that will provide economic relief to Coloradans. 

 

7/27/20

 

Governor Jared Polis extended Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The Governor signed an Executive Order directing the Colorado Department of Human Services to access federal funds for child care services. The Governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 146, extending the ability for Coloradans to continue getting marriage licenses while clerk and recorder offices are closed. He also extended orders suspending certain regulatory statutes due to COVID-19, and concerning petition collection for unaffiliated and independent candidates.

 

7/23/20

 

Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on testing in Colorado. 


“Testing continues to be a critical part of Colorado’s strategy to combat this virus and I’m proud of the incredible work our state lab has done over these past few months to increase capacity. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure that every Coloradan can get tested and receive results in a timely manner and we will continue working with private partners to ensure those goals are met,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I want to thank our front line health care workers across the state who are serving their communities and supporting our response to this pandemic. Coloradans can support them wearing masks when we leave the house, washing our hands, and following social distancing protocol and reducing social interactions as much as possible.”


Colorado remains committed to the following three goals in the approach to maintaining COVID-19:

  • Acquiring more PPE, including masks, gloves, gowns, face shields, and testing equipment;

  • Expanding testing, tracking, and tracing capacity;

  • Ensuring hospitals and local public health agencies can meet the need if we do have another surge of cases.


The Governor today announced that as a result of state lab expansion and partnerships with the private sector, Colorado has increased testing from 160 Coloradans per day back in March to administering over 10,000 tests per day on average and exceeding 12,000 tests a day in recent days. On July 19, the state lab processed an all time high of 3,803 tests. That day, Colorado also hit our overall combined high between the state lab and private labs with 12,413 tests processed. Colorado’s 7-day average is 10,317 tests per day total, and more than 3,000 for the state lab. The state lab has also added a third, overnight shift to process more tests and keep turn around time low.


The state has also worked to increase supplies. Since April, Colorado has purchased 300,000 tests and 450,000 swab kits through international suppliers, and is expecting 300,000 more tests plus 800,000 swab kits over the next eight weeks. Another 300,000 swabs have been purchased and delivered from United States suppliers, and 500,000 kits are expected by the end of September. 


Colorado is also working to expand and diversify testing capacity as much as possible through innovation, introducing new and more efficient testing methods. That’s why the state lab has invoked the authority from the Federal Drug Administration to approve novel tests for use in Colorado. Over the next few weeks, the state will be evaluating an innovative saliva test that has the potential to significantly expand surveillance testing capabilities. Over time, academic and private lab partners will be expanding the types of samples that can be collected for testing, including working with Curative to introduce a cheek swab test in Colorado, in settings where repeated testing is appropriate.


Contract tracing is another key element of how Colorado will reach its goals. Thanks to the 115 full-time COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment, Colorado has been able to reach out to 96% of positive cases within a 48 hour window, where 72% have responded. Last month, Gov. Polis announced that the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) would be mobilizing more than 800 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to support the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 response through contact tracing and other associated work. To date, 423 contact tracers have started working, and an additional 300 AmeriCorps NCCC members, 350 VISTA Summer Associates, and 100-200 Senior Corps volunteers will be joining them over the course of the next year.


The Governor released an update to the Executive Order today requiring a cease in alcohol beverage sales to end consumers at 10:00 p.m. MDT each day. Rather than applying to all who are licensed to sell alcohol, the Executive Order has been amended to apply to only those who are licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption. Alcohol may still be delivered and grocery and liquor stores may continue alcohol sales after 10:00 p.m. Last call for sales for on-premise alcohol consumption or takeout alcohol orders is at 10:00 p.m. This takes effect at 10:00 p.m. today, July 23, 2020. Gov. Polis also extended an Executive Order allowing voluntary or elective surgeries.

 

 

7/21/20

 

Governor Jared Polis was joined by Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment, to provide an update on the State’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor and Ryan emphasized the importance of Coloradans modifying social behavior and following social distancing rules.


“We know we can’t behave the way we did last summer, or even the way we did in February. Though we have taken steps to open up more of our economy, we have to remain vigilant,” said Governor Jared Polis. “If we continue keeping a safe distance of six feet from others, mask up when we leave the house, and connect with each other virtually when possible, we’ll start to see less tests coming back positive for COVID-19 and begin to create more opportunities to get our economy back on track. The nature of the virus alone does a great job of setting us back. Do not give the virus the power to do what it does best: spread by engaging in risky, irresponsible, and thoughtless behavior.”


In order to curb some of that social behavior, the Governor announced that, for the next 30 days, the State is suspending all alcohol sales after 10:00 p.m. each day. This will apply to all entities that are licensed to sell liquor. “All licensees contained in Articles 3, 4, and 5 of Title 44 of the Colorado Revised Statutes must cease alcohol beverage sales to end consumers at 10:00 P.M. each day,” the Executive Order reads. The Order takes effect at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2020. Read the full Executive Order


Amidst rising cases, CDPHE has created a system to work with counties experiencing high transmission. Counties whose metrics put them in violation of their variance have two weeks to reverse their disease trend to keep their variance. If a county is unable to reverse the trend, the variance will be revoked and the county must follow the Safer at Home Executive Order.  


CDPHE has requested that such counties submit a mitigation plan with strategies such as social distancing orders, increased testing and contact tracing, enforcement of social distancing and mask wearing, and increased education. Counties also have the option to revert to the Safer at Home Executive Order, which eight counties have decided to do in lieu of a mitigation plan.  


View the news conference on the Governor’s Facebook page. View the Governor’s presentation.

 

 

7/20/20

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic and recession continue, Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera joins Hunger Free Colorado in calling on Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to deliver a federal relief package that assists Colorado’s families, communities and economy. 


The Lt. Governor joined Hunger Free Colorado in a video urging Congress, especially Colorado’s U.S. Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet to provide needed food relief with a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits. The next package for the Senate is expected to come up in the next few weeks. The US House passed their version in June. 


“The need for food continues to grow and the economic impacts of the pandemic won’t let up anytime soon,” said Primavera. “Rationing meals is the last thing Colorado families need right now. Let’s ensure America’s families have their basic human needs met through this pandemic.”


This increase will help thousands of Colorado families who are struggling to afford food. According to several state surveys, nearly one in three Coloradans report worrying about affording food through the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado has seen an uptick in the number of families applying for SNAP benefits as our state’s unemployment increases. The number of families enrolled in SNAP since March has increased by 20 percent.


An increase of 15 percent to SNAP benefits would mean $25 more per family member for groceries. At its current level, SNAP only provides an average of $1.30 per person per meal, which does not cover groceries through the month, an inadequacy made worse by rising food costs.


In addition to helping Coloradans access food, Hunger Free Colorado is urging the U.S. Senate to provide important fiscal relief for state and local governments. This funding is vital for Colorado as we face a $3.3 billion budget shortfall this year due to reduced revenue during the pandemic. Without federal support, many states, including Colorado, will be forced to make major budget and program cuts, costing thousands more jobs and making the lives of struggling families even harder.  


“Since the start of the pandemic, Hunger Free Colorado has advocated with its partners to the Colorado delegation for this increase. SNAP is a proven economic stimulus program in past recessions. In previous relief packages, Congress has included some nutrition program flexibility and resources, but much more is needed for the growing number of families who have seen their income reduced because of this pandemic,” said Marc Jacobson, CEO of Hunger Free Colorado. "Increasing SNAP benefits will help Colorado families cope with the current economic fallout, as well as help strengthen our state’s economy.”


Hunger Free Colorado, a statewide nonprofit organization, connects people to food resources to meet existing needs and drives policy, systems and social change to end hunger. Learn more at HungerFreeColorado.org.

 

 

7/17/20

 

The Office of State Controller released an interim report today as required by the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The report includes costs incurred during the period March 1 through June 30, 2020.   Further clarification is helpful to understand the fiscal challenges facing the state and the overall allocation of federal CARES Act funding. 


Key findings: 

  • The State has fully allocated the $1.674 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) pursuant to the CARES Act. Of that total, $1.1 billion, or 70%, has already been transferred to agencies and sub-recipients for expenditure. 

  • The state expects to expend 100% of the federal funding by the end of 2020 and     potentially much sooner. Despite these federal resources, the State estimates additional funding gaps for responding to the public health emergency after December 30th and preventing drastic budget cuts in the next fiscal year. 

  • The National Governors Association has urged the U.S. Congress to provide states with $500 billion in relief funding to help weather the fiscal challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress has yet to act on the next round of relief funding for cash strapped states. 

  • This preliminary reporting of expenditures reflects costs incurred as of June 30 and will increase as the State completes all accounting entries for FY 2019-20.

 

 7/17/20

 

Gov. Polis announced a statewide mask order yesterday and the Polis administration has acted swiftly and boldly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing a mask is an easy and highly effective way to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the order has received widespread support. Gov. Polis was joined by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman at the announcement. The majority of Colorado’s municipalities and counties have already led the way by instituting local mask orders.

 

Here’s what they’re saying:

 

“Consistency and predictability are helpful for businesses as they navigate this unprecedented environment, and this order increases both. Consistent rules across the state can help ensure all Coloradans are on the same page in terms of creating safe experiences for workers and customers,” Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

 

“While wearing a mask is uncomfortable it is a must to control COVID-19.  Please wear a mask when out in public. Let’s keep enjoying shopping and dining at our favorite stores and restaurants. Wear a mask, wash, your hands, and practice social distancing,” Rod Slyhoff, President, Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.

“There have not been any easy choices but I believe we can enjoy our personal freedom but also do something for the common good. Wearing a mask should not be a political issue, but an opportunity to lead by example, protect the ones we love and keep our businesses open. I believe we as Coloradans can come together in common purpose to protect each other because the stakes are clear,” Mike Ferrufino, President/CEO, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

 

“For the safety for our essential construction workforce it is critical to wear a facemask as a piece of required personal protection equipment (PPE) that is no different from wearing a hard hat or safety vest.  We must have safety measures to protect our workforce, which impacts over a hundred thousand construction workers in the state of Colorado.  Our job is to keep workers and communities safe while sustaining the operations of our industry,” Chris Martinez, Executive Director, Hispanic Contractors of Colorado.

 

Counties and Commissioners Acting Together (CCAT), The Colorado Ski Town Association representing 41 towns, counties, and resort associations dependent on the ski industry and tourism passed a resolution. The Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association released a letter of support and the Colorado Gaming Association is backing the move. Over 50 CEOs, SCARPA North America and the Marijuana Industry Group, are also backing the mask-wearing measure. The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) is also supporting the order. 

 

CO PIRG, Denver Area Labor Federation, SEIU Colorado, Healthier Colorado, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Colorado Sierra Club, Colorado AFL-CIO, Chronic Care Collaborative, Colorado Latino Forum, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Bicycle Colorado, Mile High Connects, The University of Colorado School of Medicine Student National Medical Association, American Medical Women's Association, American Medical Women’s Association at Colorado State University, American Medical Women's Association CU Boulder Chapter backed the order. 

 

Colorado’s tourism industry representatives are also supporting the order. 

 

“In Colorado Springs, we understand the importance of visitors practicing responsible tourism (wear a mask when in public, practice social distancing, avoid crowded trails, stay home when sick, know before you go, etc.) We have the dedication of all our tourism attractions/businesses to follow strict guidelines in order to safely serve the public. We must keep hotels open and continue raising capacity numbers to heal the local economy. Businesses like The Broadmoor and Flying W Ranch have just reopened their doors - if we’re going to keep it that way, we need everyone to work together,” Doug Price, President & CEO, Visit Colorado Springs

 

“A statewide face covering mandate will add clarity for visitors and residents. Visitors arriving will have a clear and easy way to support the communities they enjoy while experiencing the vast outdoors or city centers.  In our community we have experienced first hand the benefits of a face covering mandate. We believe a statewide mandate will only enhance our collective public health efforts for Colorado and allow our economy to continue to recover and thrive sooner,” Cynthia Eichler, President & CEO, VIsit Fort Collins

 

“Pueblo’s economy cannot sustain another shutdown due to an increase in COVID19 numbers. Inconsistent rules associated with mask usage in individual businesses, not to mention from cities & counties, is quite challenging.  A statewide mandate would create a consistent and fair standard. If wearing a mask enables us to manage the spread of COVID19, and lessen the impact to public health and economy then we would support those efforts to officially enact that standard,” Donielle Kitzman, Vice President, Visit Pueblo Convention & Visitors Bureau.

 

“The science is clear that wearing masks is effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks in public (indoors or outdoors) when social distancing is not possible should be a state and federal requirement until a vaccine has been administered to a sufficient threshold of the population. Goldman Sachs recently reported that a national mandate could raise mask-wearing compliance by 15% and could cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases to 0.6%. Face masks keep the economy open without having to shut down businesses. We need leadership at the state and federal levels to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If we are all in this together, we must have regulations that compel us to do what is best for the greater good and not our self-interests. These are not partisan issues; these are life and death issues. Face masks should be required until we are out of the woods,” Bruce Dalton, President & CEO, Visit Aurora.
 

“VISIT DENVER supports this statewide mandate as a reinforcement and extension of actions the Mayor of Denver has implemented in the City and County for the last few months and has allowed many of our businesses to open safely, protecting the staff, our residents and our visitors alike,” Richard Scharf, President & CEO, VISIT DENVER.

 

“We believe a statewide mask mandate would assist businesses and communities throughout the state of Colorado. This is a public health issue and our priority is to keep our residents and guests safe. Importantly, if wearing a mask enables us to manage the spread of COVID19, we think this is a common sense and impactful way to allow our economy to thrive in Eagle County and throughout Colorado,” Chris Romer, President and CEO, Vail Valley Partnership.

 

“As you may already know, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, communities within Garfield County already have mandated mask orders in place. As a valley/community, we feel it is prudent that the Governor put a state mask indoors order in place. See the links below to a great video and posters that were released by the county yesterday: Garfield County Public Health Facebook and summer-themed fliers,” Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism Promotion, Visit Glenwood Springs. 

 

The Colorado Hospital Association, Colorado Board of Health and the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials have backed the order. 

 

Janicek Media and First Bank have also offered support. 

 

“On behalf of Frontier Airlines and our eleven thousand team members, we are in full support of Governor Jared Polis’ statewide mask mandate. The well-being of our citizens and livelihood of businesses across Colorado is dependent upon our ability as a state and as a nation to gain control of Covid-19 which we can easily achieve if everyone wears a mask. The economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry, including airlines, is costing billions of dollars and threatening the viability of many businesses, yet if everyone can come together on this one thing – simply wearing a face covering in public – we can get back on the path to recovery and, most importantly, protect the health of our citizens,” Barry Biffle

CEO, Frontier Airlines.

 

“The Aspen Chamber Resort Association was pleased to work together with our member businesses and public health officials to get our community to open safely to both residents and visitors. At this time, Pitkin County does have a mandate requiring facemasks to be worn in all indoor public places. A statewide mandate would be supporting our local efforts by eliminating any confusion travelers are experiencing while traveling throughout our state this summer. It supports the efforts of the employees in our community who are on the front lines engaging with and educating our guests on our local regulations. A statewide mandate takes the pressure off of our employees and local officials and shows a united front for Colorado. Our goal is to find the delicate balance between keeping our community safe, while continuing to keep our economy open, and if the state can support those efforts with this mandate, it most certainly will create an environment for Aspen, and Colorado to thrive,” Debbie Braun, President & CEO, Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

 

House Speaker KC Becker and Majority Leader Alec Garnett and other state legislators have backed the mask order. Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation including Senator Michael Bennet, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Rep. Jason Crow backed the statewide mask order.  Summit County Government released a letter of support, Markey Butler, Mayor, Town of Snowmass Village and Mayor of Breckenridge endorsed the order. 

 

7/17/20

 

Governor Jared Polis and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) today announced the Property Owner Preservation (POP) Program for rental assistance, resulting from HB20-1410, COVID-19-related Housing Assistance. The Governor thanks Representatives Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver, and Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs; Sen. Rachel Zenzinger D-Arvada, and Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, for partnering on this important legislation that allocates nearly $20 million in federal CARES Act funding for housing assistance.

 

“This has been an incredibly challenging time for many Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I want to thank the legislators who worked on this bill and applaud them for their efforts. This fund will help Coloradans who have been financially impacted by the pandemic and need rent assistance. This pandemic is far from over, and we will continue working to do everything we can to help provide some relief to those who have been significantly impacted. We are all in this together and we will get through this together.”

 

This bill allocates $19,650,000 to the Housing Development Grant Fund administered by the Division of Housing within DOLA. These funds will be used to provide housing assistance, including rental assistance, mortgage assistance, and guidance on how to access other housing services to Coloradans facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“While the majority of renters and homeowners have continued to make rental and mortgage payments, there are thousands of households that have been unable to do so due to the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Rick M. Garcia, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. “The POP program will allow for landlords to apply for assistance on behalf of tenants and help with Colorado’s housing stability.”

 

“House Democrats returned to the legislature in May committed to helping Coloradans affected by COVID-19 make ends meet,” said Rep. Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs. “We delivered. This new support for homeowners and renters will go a long way towards helping Coloradans make their rent or mortgage and stay in their home. I’ve spoken to countless families in the Springs area and have heard first hand how badly this relief is needed. I’m excited to get the word out today and make sure that anyone who needs housing assistance knows they can visit the Division of Housing’s website to get started.”

“COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives – undermining not only our personal health but our economic wellbeing as well,” said Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada. “Countless Coloradans are facing eviction or foreclosure if they don’t receive help, which is why I am proud to see this program launch and for families to get the relief that they so desperately need.” 

 

“Many hardworking families are struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet, which is why we moved quickly when we came back into session to allocate significant resources to help Coloradans pay their rent or their mortgage,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, D-Denver. “I encourage anyone who may need help staying in their homes to speak with their landlord about this critical program or to visit the Division of Housing’s website to learn how to apply for relief.”

 

“Even before COVID hit, Coloradans struggled to find affordable housing. But now with so many out of work and federal assistance dwindling, people are utterly desperate for relief,” said Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver. “That’s why this new program is so critically important. By giving property owners and renters access to immediate support, we will be protecting thousands from losing their homes and granting families some much-needed breathing room.”

 

Coloradans can learn more about the program at cdola.colorado.gov/rental-assistance. There, renters and landlords alike can find more information about how to qualify for assistance. 

 

7/16/20

 

Governor Jared Polis today announced a Statewide mask order, directing Coloradans to wear a face covering while indoors. This Executive Order goes into effect at midnight tonight. The Governor also provided an update on the State’s response to COVID-19. 

 

“Wearing a mask is an easy and highly effective way to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. The more we wear masks, the safer we will be and the stronger our economy will grow,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Unfortunately, this pandemic is far from over, cases are up,  and we have to find a way to live sustainably while protecting ourselves and those around us. Masks are the ticket to the Colorado we love and a critical part of supporting Colorado’s economy and prosperity. The best way to support Colorado workers and businesses right now is to wear a mask. I’ve said this from the beginning, and it’s still true today: together, we will get through this.”

 

The Governor was joined by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, and State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy at the announcement. 

 

Coloradans older than 10 years old must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or moving within any public indoor space. A public indoor space is defined as any enclosed indoor area that is publicly or privately owned, managed or operated to which individuals have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, and that is accessible to the public, serves as a place of employment, or is an entity providing services. Public Indoor Space does not mean a person’s residence, including a room in a motel or hotel or a residential room for students at an educational facility. This includes wearing a face covering while using or waiting to use the services of any taxi, bus, light rail, train, car service, ride-sharing or similar service, or Mass Transportation Operations. Individuals 10 years old and younger, and those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering are exempt from this Executive Order. 

Individuals performing the following activities are also exempt from the requirements of the Executive Order while the activity is being performed:

  • Individuals who are hearing impaired or otherwise disabled or who are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired or otherwise disabled and where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication;

  • Individuals who are seated at a food service establishment;

  • Individuals who are exercising alone or with others from the individual’s household and a face covering would interfere with the activity;

  • Individuals who are receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;

  • Individuals who enter a business or receive services and are asked to temporarily remove a face covering for identification purposes;

  • Individuals who are actively engaged in a public safety role such as law enforcement, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel;

  • Individuals who are officiating at a religious service; or

  • Individuals who are giving a speech for broadcast or an audience.

 

To protect workers, customers, and the community, no business serving the public in a Public Indoor Space may provide service to a customer or allow a customer to enter or move within that Public Indoor Space, unless the customer is wearing a face covering. “Any individual who knowingly enters or remains in a Public Indoor Space in violation of the terms of this Executive Order may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, including but not limited to prosecution for trespass,” reads the Executive Order. 

 

Counties that certify for Protect Our Neighbors may choose to become exempt.

 

The Governor also announced that the State is going to put a two-week pause on issuing any new variances to counties in the State. CDPHE is having conversations with counties who already have variances but have fallen out of compliance by recording higher levels of the virus than permitted by their variances. These counties must take urgent mitigation steps to suppress the virus or they risk losing their variances. This is the prudent thing to do at this moment in time as Colorado gathers more data about the behavior of this virus.

 

Read the full Executive Order. Learn more by reading the FAQ document and by visiting 

https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance. View the Governor’s presentation.

 

7/15/20

 

Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The Governor amended and extended an Executive Order suspending certain statutes allowing the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado. 

 

7/14/20

 

Governor Jared Polis provided an update today to Coloradans on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“Now is not the time to let our guard down and this pandemic is far from over. We have to do a better job of wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Colorado is seeing a slow, but steady rise in cases and hospitalizations. We are not seeing the same scenarios in other states like Texas and Florida, but here in Colorado we are only as good as our ability to take the necessary measures to protect ourselves and others. Drastic changes can occur in only a matter of weeks, which is why we need to remain vigilant. Masks continue to be our ticket to more economic growth and freedom.”


The Governor pointed out that Colorado’s small businesses are performing slightly better than national averages on key metrics, including:

  • Making payments like rent, payroll, utilities, and loans

  • Number of employee hours worked

  • Number of employees retained


Colorado’s unemployment rate, while still unacceptably high, remains three points lower than the national average. Governor Polis highlighted the Paycheck Protection Program and the $129 billion available for small businesses that need aid. Businesses can apply until August 8, and can visit choosecolorado.com for more details.


The Governor also highlighted all the work done by the General Assembly during the 2020 legislative session, much of the legislation focusing on supporting Coloradans during the COVID-19 pandemic. These bills included direct housing assistance, help with utility bills, loans and grants for small businesses, assistance for those struggling with behavioral health issues and domestic violence, paid sick leave, and more.


In addition, the Governor highlighted legislation extending and funding the reinsurance program for five more years to save people money on health care, legislation to refer a tobacco and vaping tax to the ballot to help schools during this challenging time, and provide free preschool to every child who wants it in Colorado, legislation to preserve and protect the air we breathe, and the bipartisan legislation to reform policing in Colorado communities. The Governor thanked the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee who had the difficult task of balancing one of the most challenging budgets in state history. 

 

7/12/20

 

Governor Jared Polis extended and amended Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Gov. Polis extended an Executive Order to expedite the processing of unemployment insurance claims for Coloradans and will help protect the economic well-being of Colorado’s communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Governor extended an Executive Order to ensure that hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities have sufficient healthcare resources and personnel to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. The Governor extended an Executive Order to maintain eligibility for Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan. 


The Governor extended an Executive Order to provide relief to public utility customers to mitigate, respond to, and recover from the current economic disruption due to the presence of COVID-19 in the State. The Governor extended and amended an Executive Order ordering State agencies to help prevent evictions of tenants economically harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

The Governor extended an Executive Order to provide boards of county commissioners with broader discretion and greater flexibility to implement restrictions on open burning

 

Gov. Polis amended and extended an Executive Order in light of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision in Ritchie v. Polis. Gov. Polis extended and amended an Executive Order limiting in-person contact for the Secretary of State’s operations. The Governor extended an Executive Order concerning signature collection for Unaffiliated and Independent Candidates and authorizing the Secretary of State to create temporary rules for registered electors to receive and return candidate petitions over mail and email due to the presence of COVID-19. 

 

7/9/20

 

Governor Jared Polis was joined by Dr. Jonathan Samet, Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and unveiled an interactive Colorado COVID model from the Colorado School of Public Health. This is a new tool that can help individuals, businesses, local public health agencies and local governments, visualize their own role in stopping the spread of COVID and preventing a public health emergency.

 

“This exciting new tool at ColoradoCoronavirusmodel.com shows just how important our actions are in keeping our economy moving in the right direction and preventing a surge in cases. We are committed to using data and the latest information when making decisions, and this tool gives a glimpse into the type of data we are looking at,” said Governor Jared Polis. “It’s up to each of us to do a bit better than we have been at wearing masks, following social distancing protocols, and washing our hands. And not party. If we let up, even for a moment, then Colorado will begin to see more and more cases like our neighboring states. Wear a damn mask.”

 

This application displays the predictive model of the COVID-19 epidemic in Colorado. Coloradans can use the model to see how different factors, like wearing a mask, can change the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado in the future. The factors can be adjusted to see how different scenarios play out. 

 

For example, the following can be changed in the tool:

  • The current level of social distancing for the general population

  • The levels of social distancing for the general population starting in mid-August, about when many kids are going back to school

  • The level of social distancing for people over 65, who may be at a higher risk of a severe outcome if they contract covid

  • The portion of the population wearing masks

  • The number of contacts traced for every case

  • And how quickly those contacts are traced

Visit http://coloradocoronavirusmodel.com/ 

 

Gov. Polis today signed the Protect Our Neighbors Executive Order which directs CDPHE to create a certification process to allow local communities to move from Safer at Home in the Vast, Great Outdoors to Protect Our Neighbors. CDPHE will also issue a corresponding Public Health Order. To qualify for Protect Our Neighbors, a county or a region must: 

  • Certify that they meet qualification metrics established by CDPHE; and

  • Submit a mitigation and containment plan on what the county or region will do if they fall out of compliance with one or more of these metrics, and documentation of support for the plan by local officials, law enforcement, and any others identified by CDPHE. 

 

Governor Polis highlighted a study that shows nationwide, universal mask-wearing would save five percent of the national GDP, which is about a trillion dollars of economic activity. The Governor fully supports the local mask ordinances, and applauded community leaders that have helped pass them.

 

Gov. Polis also announced that the federal government has extended the application period for the Paycheck Protection Program until August 8. There is $129 billion remaining in the fund which can be used as forgivable loans for small businesses that need aid. Visit choosecolorado.com  for more information.

 

In May, the Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission secured $2 million in funding for telemedicine projects in partnership with Health Care Policy and Financing from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. Gov. Polis today announced the awardees for the first cohort of telemedicine projects. 

 

The Office of eHealth and the eHealth Commission will distribute $394,844 to the following organizations for their innovative efforts:

  • Axis Health System in Southwest Colorado

  • Beverly Hawp & Associates in Colorado Springs

  • Clinica Family Health in the North Denver Metro Area

  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless based in Denver

  • Developmental Disabilities Resource Center based in Lakewood, and 

  • Mental Health Center of Denver. 

 

These projects were selected because they will better prepare the state for the next phase of COVID-19, provide insight for key partners such as the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and help solidify the new normal of expanded access to virtual care. 

 

Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 126, extending the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes concerning juvenile justice, regional centers, and behavioral health due to the presence of COVID-19.

 

View the Governor’s news conference and the Governor’s presentation

 

7/7/20

 

Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Governor signed an Executive Order extending the disaster emergency declaration for COVID-19 for an additional 30 days. 

 

7/2/20

 

Governor Jared Polis urged Coloradans to be safe, to wear masks, follow social distancing requirements, and to wash their hands this July 4th holiday weekend.

 

“Whether Coloradans are enjoying our great outdoors or having a cookout, people should celebrate this 4th of July by staying on the trail that leads to suppressing the virus and rebuilding our economy. That means wearing masks, practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and avoiding risky activities,” said Gov. Polis. “This Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom that so many fought to gain, but with freedom comes responsibility, so please exercise personal responsibility, use common sense, and err on the side of caution.”

 

Here are a few guidelines that Coloradans should follow:

 

  • Make It Safer: If you choose to participate in in-person activities, keep it small, keep your distance from others, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask. Consider a smaller gathering than in years past, and try to stay outside where transmission of coronavirus is less likely. Don’t be afraid to change your plans if you feel uncomfortable about the risk.

  • Know Before You Go: Check fire bans and local COVID-19-related rules at your destination. If you plan to play in the great outdoors, be prepared with appropriate supplies. Just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t mean we can ignore other safety rules that are meant to keep us all healthy and safe.

  • Prevent Fires:  It’s fire season, and this year we need to be even more careful due to added threats due to COVID-19. We want to prevent situations where people have to evacuate their homes, firefighters have to deploy to camps, and the resulting smoke worsens summer air quality, which would be very bad in the middle of a pandemic where the disease attacks your respiratory system. So please skip the fireworks and campfires this year.

  • How families can safely have holiday cookouts and gatherings : Summer gatherings this holiday should look different compared to a typical summer. It’s important to keep your distance and keep gatherings small. We’re asking you to continue to have less interactions with less people and do so in a safe way by wearing a face covering, remaining 6ft away from others, and washing your hands frequently. Additionally, being in an outdoor environment is ideal - we have the benefit of climate and sunshine to modify/decrease transmission.

 

Learn more about the risks and benefits of everyday activities 

© 2018 Susan Lontine