Coronavirus restrictions eased in some parts of Colorado
DENVER (AP) — Parts of Colorado began allowing elective surgeries and other activities Monday after Gov. Jared Polis eased some restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. But the Denver area remained under strict stay-home orders imposed by local officials.
The “safer at home” order issued Sunday by Polis allows the surgeries, real estate showings and curbside pickup from retail stores. Those stores can fully re-open Friday along with hair salons and barber shops.
On May 4, offices can re-open but only with half the usual staff to allow for social distancing. Working from home will still be encouraged. Businesses with more than 50 workers in one location will be required to have symptom screening and cleaning protocol.
Polis thanked residents on Monday for adhering to the stay-at-home order issued March 27, saying it had slowed the growth of new coronavirus cases, produced declining virus-related hospitalizations and allow ed the state to build hospital bed capacity, recruit health workers and seek medical equipment.
“Safer at Home” is designed to produce “a safer, sustainable environment” that allows people to return to work, take care of other medical needs and their mental health, he said. Strict measures remain at senior facilities, which have accounted for a great number of coronavirus cases and deaths.
“Your success is the only reason we are where we are today,” Polis said, adding it “means we’ve avoided a catastrophe.”
He reiterated that if any surge in cases appears, restrictions will be re-imposed. And he warned that any municipality that relaxes statewide guidance without permission is breaking the law and risking its emergency preparedness grants.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
State and federal guidelines say counties can ask the state to ease restrictions if they can prove new cases are low or declining for 14 days or more; have an early warning system to detect new outbreaks; and have the approval of local health agencies, hospitals and county commissioners. Eagle County has received a waiver and Mesa County will get one shortly, he said.
Polis said no one can be compelled to return to work if it involves close contact with others, or if it can be done remotely. Employers need to accommodate workers under a variety of conditions, including those who need to stay home to provide child care, he said.
Polis asked citizens to help authorities enforce safety measures by reporting businesses to local health agencies and the attorney general’s office.
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Sheila Symons’ son got COVID-19 around Labor Day. He has since missed about five weeks of school, spent five days at Children’s Hospital in Aurora and has seen more doctors than an 11-year-old child should.