Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Colorado, US, to lift additional business restrictions May 27-June 1; safer-at-home order extended through June 1.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Denver, Colorado
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • Vail, Colorado
  • Aspen, Colorado
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Durango, Colorado
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Gunnison, Colorado
  • Pueblo, Colorado
  • Telluride, Colorado
  • Lamar, Colorado
  • Rifle, Colorado
  • Salida, Colorado
  • Montrose, Colorado
  • Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Avon, Colorado
  • Loveland, Colorado

This alert began 26 May 2020 20:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Statewide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Colorado plan to allow additional businesses and facilities to reopen over the coming days as part of the state's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan. Restaurants will be able to reopen for dine-in service starting May 27, provided they comply with certain mandates aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19; such directives include following social distancing guidelines, limiting seating capacity, enhancing sanitization processes, and using protective face coverings, among other measures. Bars and other establishments that do not offer food will remain closed, however. Children's day camps and sports camps may resume operations June 1, though overnight camps will remain closed through at least June 30. Private campsites may also reopen.

As part of the move, Governor Jared Polis has extended Colorado's safer-at-home order through June 1. The edict strongly urges, though does not order, residents to remain at home to the extent possible - especially those 65 years or older or with underlying health conditions. While travel restrictions have been eased in the state over recent days, all residents are still encouraged to wear face coverings whenever in public; gatherings remain limited to no more than 10 people. In-person lessons in schools will remain cancelled through the end of the school year.

Authorities had previously allowed other businesses and services to operate, including elective medical, dental, and veterinary surgeries, as well as retail businesses. Noncommercial businesses may allow up to 50 percent of their employees to work from their offices; however, officials still urge companies to allow telecommuting whenever possible. All other nonessential businesses must remain closed to in-person services, but employees may work from home, if possible. Essential businesses and services, including pharmacies, grocery stores, fuel stations, healthcare facilities, media organizations, and those involved in maintaining essential services and utilities, such as manufacturing, security, and transport, have not been subject to mandatory closures.

Significant transport and business disruptions remain likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could reimpose, extend, further relax, or otherwise amend restrictions at short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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