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Stay At Home Order

An Easy to Understand Summary

Written by Andrew C. Montoya,CCDC Legal Program Attorney

As of Thursday, March 26, 2020, precisely at 6:00 a.m., the State of Colorado is under a Stay At Home executive order, issued by Governor Jared Polis. Of course, much of the State was already under local Stay At Home orders issued by county authorities, including Denver, Boulder, Jefferson Counties, and the Tri-County Health order covering Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. That’s a lot of pages of dense text, with facts and findings, definitions and prohibitions, and other unfriendly phrasing that’s no fun to read. But worry not, dear friends! Thanks to the venerable Julie Reiskin, I, your friendly neighborhood disability rights lawyer, am here to provide an easy-to-read summary.

Of course, since I am a lawyer, I do have to take a moment to provide a brief disclaimer: this does not constitute legal advice and reading this does not create an attorney-client relationship. You may wish to consult with a lawyer before taking any actions that might violate any of the county or state Stay At Home orders.

Now, on to the main event: the orders! All of the Stay At Home orders, whether at the state or county level, are very, very similar. In fact, most use identical verbiage for most of the orders, changing only the name of the locality. There are a few minor differences—Broomfield’s being shortest and to the point, for instance—but the upshot of them all is the same: Stay At Home (as much as possible). Because of these significant similarities, I will focus on the statewide order issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health as part of the Governor’s executive order, but this summary pretty much covers them all.

All of the orders start with some basic introductory stuff, like reciting the facts about the spread of COVID-19 and its health consequences, the history of other public health orders related to the virus, and the intent behind the order. The order itself is pretty straight-forward. All public and private gatherings of any size occurring outside of people’s homes are prohibited. People are also asked to remain at their homes as much as possible. When that’s not possible, try your best to maintain a distance of six feet between yourself and others. The only times you should leave your home is for necessities, like grocery shopping, seeking medical care, getting outside for a bit, or working in or supporting a critical business. Basically, if you need something while staying holed up at home, you can still go out and buy it (including liquor and cannabis (for recreational, curbside delivery only)).

If you work in an essential business, such as those grocery stores, medical offices, and dispensaries, you can go to work. If you work in a job that supports those essential businesses, you can go to work. If you need to help someone or need someone to help you, that can still happen too. If you need gas to drive to the grocery store, you can stop at the gas station. If you work at a restaurant, you can still catch the bus, cab, rideshare, bike or scooter to get you there.

Truly, the exceptions to the general premise of staying at home are enormous! Most of the usual business that we do daily will continue unhampered by the Stay At Home order. Sure, you can’t go hang out at Starbucks with friends, but you can still get a venti dark roast to go and Facetime as you take a leisurely stroll through the park. Just remember to maintain the social distancing that we have all been practicing for days now anyway. Of course, also wash your hands (and don’t forget to sanitize your phone too)!

Important Words and Phrases from Colorado Stay At Home Order:

  • Critical Businesses” means healthcare operations (including in-home attendants), infrastructure (like utilities, telecommunications centers, and social support organizations), a lot of manufacturing, many stores and other retail establishments, many services (like trash collection, mail, and vehicle repairs, as well as law enforcement and fire departments), news media, financial institutions, shelters and food banks, and construction. There are many, many other businesses that qualify as Critical Businesses, including businesses that support listed Critical Businesses.
  • Critical Governmental Functions” means public safety, emergency response and services, public utilities and telecommunications, public transportation (including paratransit), and other similar things.
  • Necessary Activities” means tasks essential to your and your household’s health and safety (including pets and other animals), engaging in many outdoor activities, and working for a Critical Business or Critical Government Function.
  • Necessary Travel” means accessing Necessary Activities, Critical Businesses, Critical Governmental Functions, and travel ordered by law enforcement or a court.
  • Social Distancing” means keeping at least six feet away from others not in your household, washing or sanitizing hands as frequently as possible, not coughing or sneezing into your hands, cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly, and not shaking hands.
  • Vulnerable Individuals” means anyone with a disability, anyone over the age of 60, and anyone with a serious health condition.

Summary of Key Points from Colorado Stay At Home Order:

  • People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick SHOULD stay at home except to seek medical care.
  • People with COVID-19 symptoms and those that have tested positive MUST isolate themselves for at least a full week after symptoms have passed.
  • People experiencing homelessness MUST comply with Social Distancing.
  • ONLY Necessary Travel is permitted, but you MAY use public transportation (including Access-a-Ride), ride-sharing services, and private vehicles.
  • Critical Businesses SHOULD remain open but MUST use Social Distancing.
  • Child care facilities MUST follow strict requirements.
  • Necessary Activities that you MAY do include taking care of your healthcare needs, taking care of your household needs, and assisting with other’s healthcare and household needs.
  • You MAY go outdoors for fun, as long as you use Social Distancing, but gathering spaces, such as playgrounds and picnic areas, are closed.
  • You MAY go to work if you work for a Critical Business, Critical Government Function, a business that supports such a business or government function, or to perform minimum basic operations such as processing payroll and employee benefits.

For now, the order expires just before midnight, April 11, 2020. That may change, and we’ll let you know if it does.


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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