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Today, Governor Jared Polis tightened the state’s directives related to stopping the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, including closing casinos and movie theaters, and directing bars and restaurants to close to onsite service.  In addition, he took time to launch a social media digital campaign. #DoingMyPartCO is an aggressive effort to encourage Coloradans to engage in concerted social distancing measures; encouraging people to understand the urgent role they play in stopping the spread of the virus.

Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a press conference to address the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Colorado at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

“Doing right by our fellow Coloradans is about more than just protecting our health care system, health care workers, and our most vulnerable populations. Science tells us that doing good deeds helps our own mental health, which will continue to be a challenge for Coloradans in the weeks ahead,” said Governor Polis. “It’s not going to be easy, but the more seriously we take this public health emergency, the better we can weather the storm and get through this crisis with as little damage as possible.”

The Governor continued to reiterate the goal of flattening the curve to stop the spread of this virus. He announced that Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will open a testing site outside Telluride, in partnership with San Miguel County. This testing site will serve about 100 high-risk patients who have been pre-selected by area health care providers as a priority for being tested. The site will not accept walk-up or drive-up patients.

With the governor’s lead, the State of Colorado is strengthening support for communities across the state and increasing testing capabilities in mountain communities. A news media briefing by the CDPHE, prior to the governor’s address, clarified that the state is focused on getting mobile testing units out in the state so that it can determine where cases are surging. The premise: the state can’t deal with the health crisis if it doesn’t know where the virus is establishing hot spots.

The governor announced that on Monday, 50 nurses arrived who will be dedicated to help with the state’s COVID-19 response. The Governor issued an Executive Order to apply funds from a portion of the $3 million from the Colorado Disaster Emergency Fund to the effort.

In parallel action, the state issued a public health order effective at 8 a.m. March 17, on the temporary suspension of dine-in service at restaurants and bars for the next 30 days. It includes the closure of brewpubs, breweries, microbreweries, distillery pubs, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, public bars, taverns, restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, cigar bars, gyms, gymnasiums, theaters, casinos, movie and performance theaters, opera houses, concert halls, and music halls and other similar places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption. It does allow these entities to offer food and beverage using a delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service.

The order has a few loopholes exempting places of public accommodation considered to be critical needs. They include food and beverages not for on-premises consumption including: grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries, room service in hotels, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities. Also exempted are crisis shelters or similar institutions, food courts inside the secured zones of airports and any emergency facilities necessary for the response to these events.