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'Safer-At-Home' Begins Statewide Monday, But Some Rules Differ By County

Apr 27, 2020

A sign urging social distancing on the Rio Grande trail in Aspen. Many revised state and county rules require social distancing in reopened businesses.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The first rollbacks to restrictive statewide orders go into effect on Monday, April 27. Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced a transition to a new “Safer-at-Home” policy. The measures include a gradual return normal life, with a timeline for retailers and other businesses to reopen with specific precautions in place. Some rules will differ by county as local governments set their own pace for a return to normal life.

This graphic shows a partial timeline for the loosening of statewide restrictions.
Credit via Governor Jared Polis

Eagle County became the first in the state to receive an exemption from state guidelines. The county’s new plan, detailed in a letter to the governor, is largely in line with the state’s upcoming changes. A restrictive county public health order was originally set to expire April 30.

 The county first had to prove it could meet four specific criteria – a sustained reduction in cases for 14 days, hospitals that can safely treat all people who need care, the ability to test all people with COVID-19 symptoms and the ability to conduct contact tracing. 

Pitkin County’s current public health order is set to expire on April 30, but what comes next has yet to be determined. The county’s department of public health said it will be meeting this week “to discuss policies and procedures for the new public health order.”

 “At this point, we don’t know whether that will be extended or will change, but it will be different than the state’s Safer-at-Home order,” Steve Child, Pitkin County commissioner, said in Thursday’s online community meeting. He called the existing county order “among the most restrictive in the state and the nation.”

 The county enacted a small set of changes to its existing public health order last Thursday, the first steps it has taken to loosen restrictions. Under the changes, bike repair, office supply stores and golf courses can reopen as essential businesses. Landscaping and construction companies can return to job sites after meeting safety requirements established by the county.

 Garfield County said it will follow the governor’s Safer-at-Home plan starting April 27 with two notable differences.

The county has been allowing retailers to offer curbside delivery and pickup, which will not change under the new statewide plan.

 Retail and personal services, which include salons, dog grooming and limited personal training, will not be allowed to open until May 4. This differs from the state’s order, which allows those businesses to reopen May 1. The county is asking business owners to fill out an online plan explaining how they will implement social distancing measures.