Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide “stay-at-home” executive order Wednesday.

The order requires Coloradans to stay at home and ordered the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue a public health order defining terms and certain limited exceptions related to the directive.

The department subsequently issued public health order (PHO) 20-24, which describes limitations and exceptions to the public and businesses under the executive order.

Stay at home

• All individuals in the state are ordered to stay at home wherever possible, while exercising social distancing requirements.

• All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a residence are prohibited except for essential activities. Nothing in the PHO prohibits gathering of members living in the same residence.

•People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are urged to stay in their homes at all times except as necessary to seek medical care.

• Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate until their symptoms cease (72 hours without a fever with no medication, other symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath have improved and at least seven days have passed since onset of symptoms), or until they have a negative test result.

• People experiencing homelessness are strongly urged to obtain shelter and comply with social distancing requirements.

•All travel, including by automobile or public transit, except necessary travel is prohibited.

• Necessary travel is limited to: providing or accessing necessary activities, minimum basic operations, critical government functions and critical business; receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals and any other related services from educational institutions; returning to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction; travel required by law enforcement or court order; and nonresidents returning to their place of residence.

Business requirements

• Critical businesses are exempt from the PHO but must comply with social distancing requirements at all times and implement telework or distance between workers unless doing so would make it impossible to carry out critical functions.

• All businesses required to close down their in-person work may continue to carry out minimum basic operations to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits or for related functions and to facilitate employees of the business to work remotely from their residences.

• Child care facilities providing services exempted by the PHO must operate under certain conditions, including care must be carried out in stable groups of 10 or fewer children (stable meaning the same children are in the same group each day), children shall not change groups, groups shall not mix with each other, child care workers will remain solely with one group of children, and social distancing requirements are followed to the extent possible.

Necessary activities

• Individuals may leave their residences only to perform necessary activities, provided they comply with social distancing requirements.

• Engaging in activities or performing tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members, including pets and livestock (such as obtaining medical supplies, walking a dog, feeding barnyard animals, obtaining durable medical equipment, obtaining medication, visiting a health care professional or obtaining supplies they need to work from home).

• Obtaining necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as food, pet supply, other household consumer products and products or equipment necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence.

• Engaging in outdoor activity such as walking, hiking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, biking or running.

For purposes of outdoor activity, state parks will remain open to the public to engage in those activities; however, all playgrounds, picnic areas and other similar areas conducive to public gathering will be closed. For other parks check local jurisdiction and follow requirements for that jurisdiction.

Permitted outdoor activities do not include those that would violate social distancing requirements.

Critical business

Any business, including any for-profit or nonprofit engaged in any of the activities listed may continue to operate as normal. Critical businesses must comply with social distancing requirements and all those currently in effect to the greatest extent possible.

• Health care operations including hospitals, clinics, walk-in health facilities, medical and dental care, behavioral health care providers, veterinary care and livestock services, nursing homes and residential health care.

• Critical infrastructure, including utilities, road and railways, public water and wastewater, telecommunications, data centers and food and plant cultivation

• Critical manufacturing, including food processing and manufacturing agents and agriculture.

• Critical retail, including grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants and bars (for takeout/delivery only), marijuana dispensary (only for sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery), liquor stores, firearms stores, hardware stores, farm supply stores, building material stores and establishments engaged in the sale of products that support working from home.

• Critical services, including trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal, mail and shipping services, locations that offer post office boxes, self-serve laundromats, child care services, automobile rental, auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships performing repairs and maintenance, but not in person retail sales), funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries, in-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end-of-life services, houses of worship, animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues and other related facilities.

• News media including newspapers, radio, television and other media services.

• Financial and professional institutions, including: banks and credit institutions, insurance and payroll, services related to financial markets and professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions.

• Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, including homeless shelters and congregate care facilities, food banks, human services providers whose function includes direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs.

• Construction, including housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people, skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers and other related firms and professionals who provide services necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences.

• Critical services necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and critical operations of residences or other critical businesses, including law enforcement, fire prevention and response, building code enforcement, security, emergency management and response, building cleaners or janitors, general maintenance, automotive and bicycle repair, disinfection and snow removal.

• Vendors that provide critical services or products, including logistics, technology support for online and telephone services, child care programs and services, government owned or leased buildings and critical government functions.

• Educational institutions that provide critical services to students and the general public, including kindergarten-12th grade public and private schools for the purpose of providing meals, facilitating or providing materials for distance learning and providing other essential services to students. Postsecondary institutions, including private and public colleges and universities, may be open for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions.

For a complete list of critical businesses and to read PHO 20-24 in its entirety, visit and follow the links to the most recent executive and public health orders and other COVID-19 information.

From our sister paper The Mountain Mail at

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