Governor Jared Polis yesterday ordered all Coloradans to ‘stay-at-home’ with immediate effect and lasting until 11th April in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He claimed that Colorado’s mountain communities are ‘ground zero’ in the pandemic, and requested that President Trump declare Colorado a major disaster.
The mandatory stay at home order comes as the death toll from the virus in the state jumped from seven to 19 within a couple of days. Polis said he is taking this “extreme measure” as the restrictions taken to date haven’t been enough to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We have 148 hospitalizations, that number has doubled since yesterday,” Polis said during a press conference. “These numbers are continuing to grow here in Colorado.”
People should only leave home when they absolutely must, he said, for grocery shopping, to seek medical care or to care for dependents or pets, for example. Polis said state officials have measured the effect of social distancing restrictions by tracking people’s cellphone location data, real-time traffic information and other such metadata sources, and from this analysis, he doesn’t have the comfort that people are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus.
Playgrounds and picnic areas will be closed but many local parks and outdoor spaces will remain open for outdoor exercise. People who choose to exercise outdoors should continue practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from other people. Allowable forms of exercise, according to the order, include:
…to engage 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 walking, hiking, biking, running, and similar outdoor activities but all playgrounds, picnic areas, other similar areas conducive to public gathering, and attended areas shall be closed.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open and grocery delivery will be available as well as meal-delivery, drive-through, and take-out options. Liquor and cannabis stores will also remain open while enforcing social distancing. Roads will not close and officials recommend public transportation and ridesharing should be used for essential travel only. When possible, residents are asked to walk or drive themselves. According to the order, planes and other forms of travel should only be used if absolutely necessary.
Polis blamed the federal government for the situation the state now finds itself in due to a lack of testing.