Colorado Will Shift From Stay-At-Home To Safe-At-Home. Here’s What That Looks Like As The State Slowly Reopens

Jared Polis Coronavirus Presser 200417
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis updates the news media Friday, April 17, 2020 from the governor’s residence at Boettcher Mansion in Denver on the state’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Updated April 27 @ 6:23 a.m.

Gov. Jared Polis released guidance on Sunday, April 26, for reopening just before the statewide stay-at-home order lifts. Read more here.

As the statewide curve of COVID-19 related hospitalizations continues to flatten, Colorado's stay-at-home order is set to expire Sunday, April 26. But that doesn't mean that Monday, April 27, we'll be able to get back to the same way that we were living our lives in January or February.

Instead, Gov. Polis announced a slow roll on Monday.

Colorado will move from a 'Stay-at-Home Order' to a 'Safer-at-Home' phase that keeps many of the same recommendations — like wearing a mask when you go out on essential travel — but adds more clarity to what a gradual reopening looks like.

Gov. Polis outlines on April 20, 2020 what Colorado's reopening looks like based on three levels. On April 27, level 2, or 'Safer at Home' begins. (Andrew Kenney/CPR News)

The state will move into a "phase of individual responsibility, and phase of sustainability," Gov. Polis said, that includes maintaining social distancing and while the state pursues more aggressive testing, case detection and containment. 

And while many small businesses and personal services (haircuts, for instance) will be allowed to soon reopen, they'll be under strict health restrictions and must follow certain guidelines soon-to-be provided by the state.

For instance, while a hair salon or a barbershop can open on April 27, it will still need to follow the state's physical distancing guidelines of 10 or fewer people, 6-feet-apart.

And just because a business is allowed to open on a certain date doesn't mean it will. "Some might feel there's not enough customers, or they don't want to put themselves at risk," Polis said.

No official guidance has yet been released by the state, but in an email to licensees, the Department of Regulatory Agencies said that it "wants to stress that if you are not currently operating as a critical service business, you should not open your doors on April 27."

Important dates to know:

April 27
  • Retail businesses can open for curbside pickup and delivery if they choose to
  • Elective surgeries can continue
  • Medical and dental offices can reopen under strict social distancing precautions
  • In-person real estate showings can begin, no open houses
May 1
  • Under strict precautions, retail businesses can open to the public beyond curbside pickup and delivery
  • Personal services (salons, dog grooming, personal training, tattoo parlors) can reopen under strict social distancing precautions
May 4
  • Large workplaces at 50% of the in-person workforce, with symptoms and temperature checks as employees enter
  • Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements

As for sporting events, Gov. Polis said Colorado will remain consistent with the time frames set by leagues. "Whether it's reduced capacity at stadiums or empty stadiums, we are all exploring that," Polis said.

While the 'Safer-at-home' phase includes remote learning continuing for all K-12 and higher education in the state through the end of the school year, Polis did not comment on what may happen with summer camps.

He also didn't indicate whether or not state parks and camping grounds would reopen.

Local Authority

There are a few counties and municipalities that are either seeking waivers to reopen or to set their own protocols once the statewide order expires and those that have their own own order that may extend beyond the state's original order. Consult your local public health department or authority.

Stay-At-Home vs. Safer-At-Home

Statewide stay-at-home order (ends April 26)Safer-at-home (phased reopening, begins April 27)
General populationOrdered to stay at home, except when absolutely necessaryEncouraged to stay at home, except when absolutely necessary
GatheringsNo gatherings over 10 peopleNo gatherings over 10 people
Face masks in public Strongly advisedStrongly advised
Vulnerable populations and seniorsStay at home, except when absolutely necessaryStay at home, except when absolutely necessary
Critical businessesOpen, with strict precautionsOpen, with strict social distancing precautions
Nursing homesStrict precautions and protectionsStrict precautions and protections
RetailOnly critical retail openOpen for curbside pick-up and delivery, gradually opening for in-person shopping with strict social distancing precautions
WorkplacesReduce in-person workforce by 50%, maximize telecommutingReduce in-person workforce by 50%, maximize telecommuting, large workplaces encouraged to have symptoms and temperature checks
K-12 and higher educationClosed for in-person learningClosed for in-person learning
Personal services (salons, tattoo parlors, dog grooming, personal training)ClosedOpen, with strict social distancing precautions
Real estate showingsVirtual showings onlyIn-person showings can begin, but no open houses

Editor's Note: An earlier version of the story incorrectly listed 'gyms' under Personal Services. We've corrected it to 'personal training.' The state has not provided information about when or how gyms will reopen.