We hope at this point you’re spending most of your time inside and practicing adequate social distancing—keeping at least six feet between yourself and others—if you leave your home. The coronavirus is real, as are the impacts it’s having across Colorado. As we emerged from the weekend, things have only grown more serious.
More Colorado businesses are shuttering, more people have tested positive (160 at last count, with one death), and the financial ramifications are predicted to be serious. In fact, the economic forecast is bleak, the Denver Post reported Monday, as state analysts predict the COVID-19 pandemic could cost the state $800 million. Here’s what else we’re keeping an eye on as modern society as we know it slows to a halt.
Restaurants and bars close statewide
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced Monday morning that all restaurants and bars within the city limits must close for at least eight weeks, with the exception of take-out and delivery food service. Mayor Hancock also announced Denver would follow updated Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and would ban all public gatherings with more than 50 people (grocery stores are exempted). On Monday night, Gov. Jared Polis enacted similar measures statewide, closing all restaurants and bars, as well as gyms, theaters, casinos, and other large gathering spaces for 30 days.
Colorado’s high country taking extreme measures
While Denver is ramping up its effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the high country, which has been hit harder by the virus, is taking even more aggressive action. Gunnison County, for instance, has seen eight confirmed positive cases—one of the highest rates of infection in the United States—and is effectively banning all public gatherings. Moreover, Summit, Eagle, and Pitkin counties are in overdrive trying to limit community spread. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said Monday that anyone who has visited those counties within the last week should limit all contact with other people.
How Colorado hospitals are responding
Even before the medical system is overrun by severe or critical cases of the novel coronavirus, hospitals across the state are already feeling the effects of the pandemic. Many hospitals are limiting visitors to patients in all areas of the hospital, including cancer units and labor and delivery. Others are asking patients to postpone elective surgeries and appointments that are not critical.
Denver residents get a break on evictions and utilities
With many folks temporarily out of work or unable to do their jobs remotely, the most vulnerable residents in Denver are being hit even harder. With that in mind, the city’s major utility providers, Xcel Energy and Denver Water, announced they would offer leniency to customers who are unable to pay their bills, meaning no one will have their water or electricity shut off for the time being. Mayor Hancock also announced Monday the city would not be aiding evictions and that officers who assist on eviction calls would be redeployed.
National and global news you might have missed
On Monday, six Bay Area counties—which make up one of the most densely populated areas in the country with 6.7 million residents—announced a “shelter in place” order. Under these guidelines, residents are to stay in their homes and reduce their exposure to others as much as possible. The order takes effect at midnight on Tuesday and will stay in place through April 7.
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced new guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including closing schools and avoiding groups of more than 10 people for 15 days.
Around the world, countries are shutting their borders and enacting other measures to contain the virus’ spread. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced a plan on Monday to shut down travel into the European Union. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron on France announced an enforced lockdown, while Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel closed shops (excluding grocery stores) and venues and instituted travel bans. Canada will also be closing its borders to foreigners, but this measure does not include U.S. citizens.