If you’re reading this in Denver, it means you’ve survived both a global pandemic and a snowstorm this week. A hearty congrats on both accounts. Hopefully you’ve taken a break from social media, TV, and the barrage of COVID-19-related headlines in your days away from modern society as we know it. The world is an uncertain place right now, and staying up to speed with the latest news isn’t always possible—or healthy. We get that. We’re in this together. Below are the developing stories we’re following as the week draws to a close. But first, here’s a snapshot of our coverage this week:
- From the editorial director: How 5280 is covering COVID-19
- You had questions about the coronavirus in Colorado. Health experts have answers
- Restaurants are closed in Denver and statewide
- More than 100 restaurants (and counting) where you can find takeout and delivery
- The hospitality industry needs help from all levels of government
- How to cope with pandemic-induced anxiety
- Why some hospitals were still doing elective surgeries
- 5 Ways to help Colorado’s most vulnerable communities now
- You’re working from home. Now what?
- How to make coffee at home that doesn’t suck
- How people are supporting local artists right now
- Your guide to outdoor recreating during social distancing
And now, as they say, to the news:
4 Deaths and More Positive Cases
On Tuesday afternoon, the state announced its second fatality due to the coronavirus. A Weld County man in his 70s reportedly reportedly died, though few details have emerged. On Thursday, the state announced two more people had died—an El Paso County man in his 60s and an elderly resident of Crowley County—bringing the total number to four. At this point, at least 216 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Colorado, though estimates suggest, because of limited testing, the number is actually much higher.
Schools and Ski Resorts to remain Closed
On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order closing all public and private schools until at least April 17. His order also officially bans any gathering in Colorado of more than 10 people. Additionally, Polis extended the closure of all ski resorts by another two weeks, until April 6. It’s unclear if any mountains will spin lifts again before next ski season.
City Pledges $4 Million in Relief
In a press conference on Thursday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced a $4 million economic relief package for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. He also announced artists would be able to apply for cash grants up to $1,000 and that the city would effectively stop parking enforcement on metered spots.
No Shelter in Place For Now
At Thursday’s press conference, Mayor Hancock was asked repeatedly whether or not Denver would be instituting a shelter-in-place order—essentially requiring all non-essential personnel to stay inside. He said he is considering many things, and that he’s keeping a close eye on other cities, like San Francisco, that have taken such measures. Translation: Maybe.
Unemployment Claims are Surging
As businesses across the state closed this week, thousands of Coloradans found themselves laid off and unsure when—or if—their employer will be able bring them back to work. Accordingly, thousands of people have filed for unemployment—as many as 10,000 in a single day—and the state’s online portal hasn’t been able to keep up.
Elective Surgeries, Also Canceled
On Thursday afternoon, Polis issued another executive order, this one temporarily suspending all nonessential and elective surgeries from March 23 until April 14. Earlier on Thursday, 5280 reported that some local hospitals had been moving forward with surgeries that weren’t deemed critical—against the recommendations issued by the American College of Surgeons.
And Here’s Something Wonderful
Yes, everything is canceled right now. And that sucks. But the Colorado Symphony is making the best of it. Do yourself a favor today and watch horn players Michael Thornton, Carolyn Kunicki, Kolio Plachkov, and Matthew Eckenhoff cover “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by the Police. Social distancing at its very finest.