COLORADO - During his April 27 COVID-19 state address, Governor Jared Polis outlined more specifically what the “Safer at home” executive order entailed. Prior to the specifics, he stated that the percentage of case increases had dramatically decreased from the first COVID-19 positive case in Colorado on March 5. He stated in the early stages we were doubling the number of COVOD-19 positive cases every 2-3 days. He stated now the number of COVID-19 cases growth rate has dropped to 3.8 percent. The problem with this analysis is basic statistics and the fact that testing was, and still is, very limited across the state and especially in the San Luis Valley. As of April 27, Colorado has 13,879 cases of COVID-19. At a growth rate of 3.8 percent this equates to 527 new cases per day.
Polis cautioned that as more tests become available the number of COVID-19 positive cases will increase. He also warned during his speech that if we do not adhere to the guidelines of the “safer at home” order that we would have an increase in the number of cases and would have to revert to a “stay at home” order again.
He stated that ideally if everyone can telecommute they should do so or as many employees as possible should telecommute if their job allows them to do so. Masks and gloves are to be worn in the workplaces, while shopping, serving customers, etc. in public settings. Disturbing for this day in age, he stated that people of color who were wearing masks were being treated suspiciously and that we needed to treat everyone equally despite the tone of their skin.
Polis went on to say, “Together, Coloradans have been effective in leveling and flattening the curve, but life will remain much more dangerous than usual these next few months and we should all wear masks when in public. Safer at Home is by no means a free-for-all. My administration has acted boldly in the face of this pandemic and is focused on ensuring our state can endure on the trail ahead. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and must find a way of living that is psychologically and economically sustainable for Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis.
The Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044 outlines a new level in Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a more sustainable way of living for Coloradans while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more Coloradans to return to work. The Executive Order is tentatively set to expire 30 days from April 27, 2020 but can be amended or extended at any time.
Coloradans should continue staying home as much as possible, and the Executive Order directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home, only leaving when absolutely necessary.
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. Childcare 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.
Elective Medical services - 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.
TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS
• Create special hours for people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
• Encourage and facilitate 6-foot distancing inside of the business for all patrons.
• Encourage use of protection like gloves, masks, and face coverings.
• Provide hand sanitizer at entrance.
• Install shields or barriers where possible between customers and employees.
• Use contactless payment solutions, no touch trash cans, etc. whenever possible.
• Provide estimates, invoices, and other documentation electronically (no paper)
• Seek contactless payment options (whenever possible)
• Use face coverings or masks
• For transportation network companies, limo services and call-and- demand transportation riders, only request for necessary travel and wash hands before and after ride.
GENERAL BUSINESS PRACTICES FOR WORKSPACES
• Ensure a minimum of 6 feet of space between all desks/workspaces
• Modify flow of people traffic to minimize contacts(e.g. doors for entry or exit only)
• Conduct office cleaning with increased frequency and supplement with high-frequency sanitization of high-touch areas (e.g. doors, stairwell handles, books, light switches, elevator switches and buttons, etc.) (Additional Guidance)
• Ensure proper ventilation
• Provide employees with sanitization products and guidance on daily workspace cleaning routines
• Post signage for employees and customers on good hygiene and new office practices, and make regular announcements to remind employees and/or customers to follow distancing guidelines
• Encourage the use of digital files rather than paper formats (e.g., documentation, invoices, inspections, forms, agendas)
• Ensure clear planning, preparedness and organization in the workplace. This includes assigning a COVID coordinator to facilitate planning and communication, developing a planform resources like cleaning supplies and internal regular (daily or weekly) communication, planning for employees to be out of the office for quarantine or caring for others, and considering how new precautions will impact workflow, etc.
• Maintain in-office occupancy at no more than 50%of total at one time by maximizing use of telecommuting and developing in-office rotation
• Allow for flexible work schedules, where possible, to lessen the need to be in the office during normal business hours. This could include allowing employees to work evenings or weekends when the office is traditionally less crowded or closed schedules.
• Conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees, for businesses with 25employees or greater. Smaller businesses ask employees to do self-temperature and symptom check at home daily before coming in to work. Refer symptomatic employees to the CDPHE Symptom Tracker. (Additional Guidance)
• Minimize the number of in-person meetings and maintain adequate 6-foot distancing in those meetings. Use online conferencing, email, or the phone instead of in-person meetings, even when people are in the same building, whenever possible
• Provide flexible or remote scheduling for employees who need to continue to observe Stay-at-Home, who may have child or elder care obligations, or who live with a person who still needs to observe Stay-at-Home due to underlying condition, age, or other factors
• Provide guidance and encouragement on maintaining 6 foot distancing and taking breaks to wash hands
• Require gloves and face coverings or masks for any interactions with other individuals (e.g. customers-workers, vendors) (Additional Guidance)
• Implement 6-foot distancing measures (e.g., marked space in checkout lines)
• Strongly encourage or require use of face coverings or masks.
• Provide hand sanitizer at entrances and other high-traffic locations
• Implement hours where service is only provided to people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, if possible. Enhance precautions during these hours.
• Deputize workplace coordinator(s) charged with addressing COVID-19 issues.
• Maintain 6-foot distancing when possible and discourage shared spaces and breakrooms.
• Frequently sanitize all high-touch areas. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
• Post signage for employees and customers on good hygiene.
• Ensure proper ventilation.
• Avoid gatherings (meetings, waiting rooms, etc.) of more than 10 people.
• Implement symptom monitoring protocols (including workplace temperature monitoring and symptom screening questions) where possible. During Colorado’s Safer-at-Home Phase, many more business will open. It’s important for these businesses to follow recommendations to keep employees and customers safe. This includes an at-the-door symptom check for all employees, vendors, and visitors before entering the business. Set up equipment on the tables so that the temperature takers screen first. The data entry personnel will be at the opposite end of the tables. Clean all surfaces and equipment with bleach wipes or disinfectant wipes. Remind all persons in the queue line to maintain a 6 foot spacing distance. (Note: On cold days, have them rub their temple to warm up the skin. Cold skin interferes with temperature taking.)
• Require employees showing any symptoms or signs of sickness, or who has been in contact with known positive cases to stay home.
• Connect employees to company or state benefits providers.
• Provide flexible or remote scheduling for employees who need to continue to observe Stay-at-Home, who may have child or elder care obligations, or who live with a person who still needs to observe Stay-at-Home due to underlying condition, age, or other factors.
• Encourage and enable remote work whenever possible.
• Minimize all in-person meetings.
• Provide hand washing facilities/stations and hand sanitizer.
• Encourage breaks to wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
• Phase shifts and breaks to reduce employee density.
• Wear appropriate protective gear like gloves, masks, and face coverings and encourage appropriate use.