Denver issues stay at home order to fight virus spread
DENVER (AP) — Denver issued a stay at home order Monday limiting most people to going out only for essentials such as groceries, medication and exercise as officials try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Under the order from Mayor Michael Hancock, businesses that are not considered “essential” must be closed starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday until at least April 10.
The closures initially included liquor stores and recreational marijuana shops, but Hancock later amended the order to allow those businesses to remain open as long “extreme physical distancing” is in place. Residents flocked to liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries and queued in long lines shortly after Hancock issued the initial order.
Construction projects, mass transit and ride shares could still proceed.
The move came a day after Gov. Jared Polis ordered non-essential businesses to cut their in-person workforces by at least half and appealed to people’s sense of duty to spend as much time at home as possible rather than issuing an order.
Hancock said he understands Polis’ decision since parts of Colorado still have not seen a case of COVID-19. However, he said Denver, as the state’s most densely populated city and site of the most cases, needed to protect its residents and, by extension, the rest of the state since Denver hospitals often treat patients from around Colorado who need specialized care.
“We can’t let our hospitals get overwhelmed,” he said.
Minority Republicans in Colorado’s House of representatives responded by asking businesses to make their case for staying open at a state GOP website in case a statewide shelter-in-place order is issued. Polis has not ruled out such an option.
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