Gov Polis on Friday: New Executive Orders Mandating Grocery store and Long-Term Care Workers Wear Masks

April 17, 2020 – Gov. Jared Polis is updating his executive order requiring that certain critical workers wear masks for better protection during this coronavirus pandemic. This includes those who work in grocery stores, in long-term care facilities and those who work in critical government functions where employees interact in close proximity with other employees and/or with the public.

Polis said that such workers must wear medical or non-medical cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while working and wear gloves when in contract with clients, customers and goods. He also is giving orders for long-term care facilities to create a detailed plan by May 1st, help protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus, with details on what they will do if someone tests positive for Covid-19.

To date, there are 9,047 cases of Covid-19 in 57 counties in Colorado, with now 391 deaths. A total of 43,307 people have been tested in the state and there is said to be about 100 outbreaks, including at long-term health care facilities.

Polis said he’ll have more information on Monday and throughout the next week on other issues, leading up until April 26th, the expiration date of his stay-at-home orders.

He said he’ll continue to allow businesses and operations to gradually open up in Colorado, however, acknowledging the history of the 1918 pandemic, during which Colorado’s then governor opened the state too quickly, causing a second spiking of the number deaths when people once again gathered in large numbers – a time when one in 100 Colorado residents died from the only other virus in history to have such an impact.

Moving forward, Polis is going to enact the National Guard to conduct more testings throuughout the state, including at large long-term care facilities, funded mostly by the federal government, which is providing a large amount of money to Colorado, recently declared an emergency state by President Donald Trump.

Polis asked Coloradans to respect his stay-at-home orders, saying the next few weeks will be key to flattening the curve. He said people should wear masks and use social distancing when going out and should to not leave their individual communities – to help protect each other and help our entire state get through this pandemic as quickly as possible.

Polis has repeated many times these words: “this isn’t a game for people too see what they can get by with,” and “it’s not a vacation,” that Coloradans need to “stay home as much as possible” to slow the spread of this highly contagious virus.

He somberly said on Friday that he expects the virus to be the cause of “more deaths ahead of us than behind us.” The governor has said that he’ll announced several days before the April 26th any major changes to his orders, but he acknowledged already that he’s going to continue to prevent large gatherings and events for an unknown time.

Polis has repeated that there will be an end to this pandemic but that we are now in this for the long haul, saying that it may take anywhere from two months, ten months, and an unknown amount of time for a “game changer” such as a vaccine or cure to help the situation, but that he’s positive that at some point scientists will come up with an effective means too protect people from Covid-19.

In the meantime, he acknowledged that his current and harshest stay-at-home orders won’t be feasible in the long run, but that even as some businesses and operations re-open, it will be with the continuing use of face masks and social distancing for many months. He says Colorado will need more available testing, tracking and ways to contain places where someone contracts Covid-19.

Polis says he is carefully monitoring Colorado, and other countries and states, seeking out the best data and solutions to help with his decision making. He in close contact with many officials, including governors of state’s surrounding Colorado, so that some joint planning can take place.

Polis’ stay-at-home orders began March 26th and only “essential businesses” are to keep in-person operations going until changes and new orders are placed by the governor by April 26th. He continues to assrue Coloradans that there will be a time when we’ll all be able to enjoy gathering with each other and trips throughout our beautiful state once again.

Screen shot of the live press conference Friday afternoon.

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Jenny Paulson is the publisher and editor of Pueblo Independent Magazine and can be contacted for more information about Pueblo Magazine, editorial content, marketing, website design and other services.