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Gov. Polis issues statewide stay-at-home order

Polis also said he sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he declare a major disaster area for Colorado as he has for California and New York.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) issued a statewide stay-at-home order that will begin Thursday morning as the state's latest response efforts against COVID-19, a new strain of the coronavirus.   

The stay-at-home order went into effect at 6 a.m. Thursday and lasts until at least April 11. The governor's office clarified that despite an alert that went to phones across the state saying the order goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, 6 a.m. is accurate. 

This executive order means Coloradans should not be leaving their homes except for critical activities including:

  • Obtaining food and other household necessities including medicine (cannabis and liquor stores will remain open)
  • Going to and from work if you are a critical employee
  • Seeking medical care
  • Caring for dependents or pets
  • Caring for a vulnerable person in another location
  • Participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties
  • Read the full order here

Below is a state-issued document outlining FAQs regarding the order:

The order comes hours after multiple metro Denver counties — including Douglas, Arapahoe, Adams, Jefferson, Boulder, Broomfield and Larimer — issued stay-at-home orders. Many of those counties have since rescinded their orders.

RELATED: Several counties rescind stay-at-home orders, adopt state orders; here are counties with their own order

Conor Cahill, with Polis' office, said local jurisdictions' orders stay in place and that they can put in requirements that are more restrictive. 

Polis' order, however, applies to everyone in the state. The counties that rescinded their individual orders will now adopt the state's stay-at-home order.

Polis also said he sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he declare a major disaster area for Colorado as he has for California, New York and Washington.

A major disaster declaration would free up resources for medical care, housing, unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, hazard mitigation and more. Read the request here.

Polis also announced:

  • Plastic bag fees have been suspended for 30 days; Polis asked that people not use reusable bags until the COVID-19 spread is contained. 
  • Colorado has tripled its testing capacity.
  • New labs are coming, including at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Children's Hospital.
  • The Innovation Response Team is working to get more ventilators.
  • Data shows closing bars and other orders have had a positive effect, but it isn't enough.
  • Retired health workers or those with training but are not in the field are again asked to contact their former employers to offer help.
  • The April 11 order "end" date could change and possibly be extended if needed.

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RELATED: Here are the counties that have issued stay-at-home orders

Polis earlier this week asked that businesses reduce their in-person workforces by 50% and recommended that the state's residents practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from people they don't live with. He said employers can do this by allowing people to work from home or stagger schedules to limit the number of people in the workplace at a time.

On Tuesday, Polis called for grocery stores to make changes to better protect customers and employees as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

He asked the companies to provide hand sanitizer throughout the stores and suggested they illustrate proper social distancing with floor markers. 

RELATED: Governor calls for changes to better protect grocery workers, customers

COVID-19 is a virus that first appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most patients develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

RELATED: What you can and can't do under Denver, Boulder's stay-at-home orders

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest: March 23-25

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