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