Colorado Coronavirus Tips: Which Businesses Are Essential, Which Are Not (And How To Report It)

Any And All Bikes on Broadway in Englewood
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Vi O’Connor, the co-owner with her husband Don, of Any And All Bikes on Broadway in Englewood, helps customers on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The store remains open during the statewide stay at home order issued by Gov. Jared Polis. Under the initial order, bike shops had to close, but the order was amended March 26. The store adhere’s to strict social distancing rules and Vi wears a face mask behind the counter.

Updated April 3, 2020 @ 11:42 a.m.

Gov. Jared Polis’ mandatory stay-at-home order, which went into effect at 6 a.m. on March 26, 2020, outlines requirements residents and businesses must follow to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus across Colorado.

The order will remain in effect until at least April 11.

Previously, Gov. Polis had ordered non-essential businesses to reduce the number of people physically present in the workplace by 50 percent. Prior to that, Polis had ordered the closures of closed bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms, casinos, and non-essential personal services, in an effort to protect and preserve public health.  

So which businesses in Colorado can remain open because they are considered “critical” or “essential”? 

“Any business, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of its corporate structure, engaged in any of the commercial, manufacturing, or service activities listed below, may continue to operate as normal. Critical Businesses must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the CDPHE and any applicable local health department. Critical Businesses must comply with Social Distancing Requirements

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

You can find the governor's order, updated on March 26, here.

Who is a critical business?

1. Health Care Operations: including Hospitals; clinics; walk-in health facilities; pharmacies; nursing homes; dental care, including ambulatory providers; research and laboratory services; veterinary care and livestock services; medical supply and equipment retailers and manufacturers

2. Critical Infrastructure: including Utilities; road and railways; oil and gas extraction; water and wastewater; telecommunications and data; hotels

3. Food and Manufacturing: including Farming, livestock, food processing and manufacturing; chemicals; computers and computer components; sanitary products; telecommunications; household paper products 

4. Critical Retail: including Grocery stores; farm and produce stands; gas stations and convenience stores; take-out or delivery restaurants and bars; marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery*); firearms stores; hardware, farm supply, and building material stores

*Note: Denver’s stay-at-home order, issued March 24, allows liquor stores and recreational marijuana dispensaries to remain open

5. Critical Services: including Trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal; mail and shipping services; self-serve laundromats; building cleaning and maintenance; child care services;  car rental, parts and repair (including dealerships with repair shops, but no retail sales); bike and bicycle repair shops; warehouse/distribution and fulfillment; funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries; animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities

6. News Media: including Newspapers; TV; radio; other media services

7. Financial & Professional Institutions: including Banks and credit institutions; insurance, payroll, and accounting services; services related to financial markets; professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions

8. Economically Disadvantaged Population Providers: including homeless shelters and congregate care facilities; food banks; human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in-state-licensed or to facilitate funded voluntary programs 

9. Construction: including housing and housing for the low-income and vulnerable; skilled trades such as electricians and plumbers; other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences, and other essential services 

10. Defense: including Security and intelligence-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor for any of the foregoing; aerospace operations; military operations and personnel; defense suppliers

11. Municipal and General Services: including law enforcement; fire prevention and response; building code enforcement; emergency management and response; Judicial branch operations, including attorneys if necessary for ongoing trials and required court appearances, unless appearances can be done remotely; building cleaners, janitors and general maintenance; disinfection; snow removal 

12. Businesses That Need To Maintain Minimum Basic Operations: There are some exceptions for businesses that need to maintain the value of their inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions; or facilitate employees being able to continue to work remotely from home Businesses here must comply at all times with social distancing requirements

What if a business is open, but is not deemed critical under the order? 

If you suspect a person or a business is violating the state’s stay-at-home mandate, you can report your concerns to: 

More on how Colorado’s executive orders, and how they are enforced, can be found on the state’s website.