Colorado Governor Jared Polis says the state is on pace to lift its stay at home order on April 27 and move into a new phase: safer at home.
Gov. Polis said in his Monday briefing the guidelines for the next stage of COVID-19 preparedness are still being developed by the state. But he did lay out some broad elements of the safer at home plan, including:
- Maintaining 60-65% social distancing. That is slightly relaxed from the current pace of 75-80% during the stay at home order, but maintains a ban on gatherings of 10 people or more. People will still be encouraged to wear masks while away from home.
- Some retailers will be permitted to reopen, offering curbside pickup on April 27 and socially distanced reopening May 1.
- Child care facilities will be able to reopen with precautions.
- Elective medical and dental services can resume.
- Personal services such as hair and nail salons can reopen with precautions, including mask-wearing.
- On May 4, offices can reopen at 50% staffing, with telecommuting still highly encouraged when possible. Large employers will be encouraged to screen employees for symptoms and take temperature checks.
- Schools will remain closed.
- Restaurants will remain closed, with delivery and takeout still allowed.
The governor reinforced that relaxing the requirements does not mean that the need for caution has passed. He said it is likely most of the state’s residents will eventually contract COVID-19, and reiterated that every measure being taken has the goal of spreading out the infections to make sure that everyone who needs an intensive care bed can get one.
“We’re going to have to live with coronavirus for a while,” Polis said.
The latest state data shows 449 Coloradans have died of the virus and more than 10,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 to date. But state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said at Monday’s briefing that state modeling estimates the real number of Coloradans who have contracted COVID-19 is most likely closer to 65,000.
Dr. Herlihy also said the state’s modeling also shows that social distancing alone without additional measures would not prevent enough infections to keep intensive care hospital beds from being overwhelmed.
The governor said the state will closely monitor the results of the safer at home efforts and those measures will remain in flux based on infection and hospitalization trends. That data, he said, will inform when restaurants and bars can reopen with social distancing restrictions. He said he hopes that can happen by the middle of May.