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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis receives a coronavirus test in Wheat Ridge on Monday, May 18, 2020, to show Coloradans how quick and easy it is. Polis says everyone in Colorado who has coronavirus symptoms can now be tested. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Monday extended his safer-at-home coronavirus directive until July 1 with some modifications giving more leeway for the state’s older residents.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


“It may feel like we are getting back to normal, but the virus is still here, and it could surge back the moment we let our guard down,” Polis said in a written statement. “We are still far from normal. Coloradans have to remain diligent, and must continue staying home or in the great outdoors away from others as much as possible, wearing masks when we leave the house, and washing our hands.”

The safer-at-home period, during which restaurants and shops have been allowed to reopen, was set to expire on Monday night.

“Over these next few weeks, each and every one of us has a responsibility to protect ourselves and others, especially as we begin venturing out onto our trails and open space,” the governor said.

The changes to the safer-at-home order come even as health care experts warn that data points toward a possible coronavirus resurgence in Colorado. Health experts are worried that crowds gathering to protest the death of George Floyd, the man who died last week at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, could lead to an increase in infections.

Through Monday, 26,577 people have either tested positive for the disease or are considered to have infections because of their proximity to someone who tested positive. Nearly 1,500 who have contracted the virus have died, including 1,185 whose deaths have been directly linked to coronavirus.

Polis changed the safer-at-home directive to allow people age 65 or older or with preexisting conditions that make them vulnerable to coronavirus to visit parks and recreate outdoors as long as they wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet from others.

People considered vulnerable to the disease cannot be compelled to perform in-person jobs under Polis’ directive.

MORE: Read the updated safer-at-home order.

Before the modifications, high-risk Coloradans, those age 65 or older or who have underlying health conditions, were required to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

The safer-at-home order also advises Coloradans to get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, if they have symptoms and continue practicing social distancing and limiting their social interactions “to the greatest extent possible.”

Meanwhile, gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited and businesses and governments are strongly encouraged to allow workers to telecommute as much as possible.

MORE: Before protests brought thousands together, data pointed to a possible coronavirus resurgence in Colorado

Short-term rentals can resume operations Monday

Polis and his Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are allowing short-term rentals — such as Airbnbs — to resume operating as of Monday.

They must, however, follow state guidelines, including:

  • Provide guests with soap and water and/or hand sanitizer
  • Provide guests with cleaning and/or disinfectant products
  • Avoid scheduling guests on back to back days to ensure proper cleaning can occur
  • Routinely check infection data in the city or county of the rental
  • Routinely check and implement local coronavirus guidelines
  • Clearly communicate with guests regarding cleaning and disinfecting steps
  • Collect all guests’ contact information and be prepared to support local public health contact tracing efforts if exposures occur

NEW: Eagle County rolls out welcome mat, says “summer of the part-time resident” will aid coronavirus recovery

Places of worship, outdoor recreation and sports guidance coming

The state is finalizing guidance this week that will allow places of worship, outdoor recreation businesses and team sports to reopen or resume on Thursday.

They will be required to follow social distancing guidelines and frequently clean surfaces.

For places of worship, draft guidance says they can only operate at 50% of their capacity or with up to 50 people in their primary worship place.

Mourners pack into Temple Emanuel in Denver on Sunday night, Oct. 28, 2018, for a vigil. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Outdoor recreation businesses must perform daily exposure and symptom checks of their employees and limit the number of people in their facilities to 50% of capacity or up to 10 people at any time.

Team sports will be able to resume on a limited basis. Organized youth or adult recreational sports leagues can gather in groups of 25 if they are outdoors or groups of 10 if they are indoors.

Playgrounds will be able to reopen, but only with up to 10 people at a time and proper signage about social distancing. Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis courts, basketball courts and fields, must follow the same rules.

Playground equipment is marked closed at Arapaho Park in Centennial. Playgrounds and picnic areas are closed because of coronavirus, though trails and bike paths remain open. (Larry Ryckman, The Colorado Sun)

“Do not share snacks or water, except in emergency situations,” the guidance says.

Outdoor swimming pools will be allowed to reopen at 50% of their capacity or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer.

The Colorado Sun —

Desk: 720-432-2229

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul