Pursuant to HJR20-1007, the Second Regular Session of the 72nd General Assembly is Temporarily Adjourned until 10:00 a.m., Monday, March 30, 2020.

March 29, 2020

Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order temporarily suspending the personal appearance requirement before notarial officers to perform notarizations.

The Executive Order also authorizes the Secretary of State to promulgate and issue temporary emergency rules in order to facilitate remote notarization.

The order is in effect March 27, 2020 and shall expire in thirty days unless extended by further Executive Order. Read the Executive Order here.

On Wednesday, March 25, Governor Polis submitted an urgent request to the federal government to help Colorado deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Sunday, March 29, Governor Polis announced that President Trump and the federal government had approved the Governor's request in declaring a Major Disaster for the State of Colorado.

Colorado is one of the states with the highest presence of COVID-19 on a per-capita basis, with a unique situation unfolding in the mountain communities. Colorado continues facing a shortage of resources in addressing this pandemic.

Read Governor's Polis request which was supported by the majority of Colorado's federal delegation here. The Governor has engaged with Colorado's congressional delegation daily on multiple calls and efforts to prioritize areas of federal relief. Members of Colorado's federal delegation sent a letter to the President on Thursday urging him to approve Governor Polis' request. Read their letter here.

California, Washington and New York have received these declarations.

March 26, 2020

Gov. Polis announced Executive Orders taking further action to protect public health and safety.

The Governor signed an Executive Order authorizing certain State agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date for certain licenses and other documents to limit in-person renewals and enable state agencies to better respond to COVID-19. This includes state park passes, and licenses for health care facilities, Medicaid and CHIP providers, commercial drivers, and more. Read the full Executive Order here.

n: 12.0pt 0in 12.0pt 0in;">In addition, he signed an Executive Order updating protocol for state prisons and community corrections facilities. The Executive Order provides flexibility to DOC facilities and suspends certain requirements in order to protect the health and safety for Coloradans. Read the full Executive Order here.

Gov. Polis and the Department of Public Health and Environment released an updated public health order in accordance with yesterday's executive order implementing a statewide stay-at-home order.

The public health order was updated to include a number of critical services such as:

  • K-12 public and private schools for the purpose of providing meals, housing, facilitating or providing materials for distance learning, and providing other essential services to students.
  • Postsecondary institutions including private and public colleges and universities for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that Social Distancing Requirements are observed, such as security, medical and mental health service, housing, food service, and critical research
  • Pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in-need of end-of-life services
  • Houses of worship may remain open, but must practice social distancing or use electronic platforms
  • Professional services, such as legal, title companies, or accounting services, real estate appraisals and transactions

All services included in the public health order are subject to social distancing requirements and are still encouraged to implement telework options and staggered schedules when possible. Businesses that have temporarily closed under the order can continue Minimum Basic Operations to protect assets. Read the updated order here.

March 25, 2020

Gov. Polis announced a statewide stay-at-home order beginning on Thursday, March 26 at 6:00 a.m. and will last until April 11, 2020. The Governor also provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19 and actions taken to limit the spread of the virus.

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

  • Obtaining food and other household necessities including medicine
  • 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
  • Cannabis and liquor stores will remain open
  • Or participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties

Read the full order here. Read the FAQ here. Read the public health order here. Watch the press conference here.

Gov. Polis released guidance to local governments and law enforcement agencies on limiting and preventing the spread of COVID-19. The guidance is meant to improve safety for all law enforcement officers and the Coloradans they interact with as well as detention center staff and individuals held in custody.

Guidance for law enforcement includes increased use of warnings or summons in lieu of arrest when public safety is not at risk; taking necessary precautions when interacting with members of the public who appear visibly ill; having jurisdictions implement pretrial diversion and release methods to lower the number of individuals held in custody at any given time; and more.

Guidance for all detention centers includes, whenever possible, practicing social distancing for individuals held in custody and staff; temporarily suspending all visitation; ensuring that no more than 10 people are gathered at the same time in any confined space; developing a protocol to regularly sanitize facilities; screening individuals coming in or being released from detention centers for any COVID-19 symptoms; screening all staff for COVID-19 symptoms; and more.

The County Sheriffs of Colorado also issued guidance in conjunction with the Governor's guidance. To the extent that the County Sheriffs of Colorado's Guidance for Jails and Other Police Contacts is more stringent than the Governor's guidance, the County Sheriffs' guidance should be followed.

To learn more about the Governor's guidance, read the full document here.

March 24, 2020

Gov. Polis sent a letter to the Presidents of Albertsons Companies, which owns Safeway, and The Kroger Co., which owns King Soopers and City Market, encouraging new safety protocols for customers and employees. In the letter, the Governor also applauds efforts currently underway. The letter includes proposals for providing the greatest possible protections for workers and customers while minimizing economic disruption.

Proposals include:

  • Providing appropriate gloves, masks, face screens, and other personal protective equipment to grocery store workers to the extent possible
  • Consider expanding into grocery delivery services, prioritizing service to those at the highest risk
  • Provide daily designated time periods for higher-risk individuals to shop
  • Establish entrance/access controls to ensure crowds are in compliance with safe social distancing practices
  • To the extent possible, assign those employees with higher health-risks to tasks with lowest exposure risks such as backroom work

To read the letter and see the full list of recommendations, click here.

March 23, 2020

Gov. Polis provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19. Yesterday he signed an executive order directing all of Colorado's non-critical employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50 percent. In accordance with the executive order, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has also issued a public health order.

The executive order directs all employers to implement telework options to the greatest extent possible. If telework is not practical or possible, employers are encouraged to stagger work schedules to reduce the proximity of employees during work hours and to keep employees on payroll. This Executive Order does not apply to any employer that can certify that employees are no closer than six feet from one another during any part of their work hours.

To read the executive order, click here. To read the public health order, click here. To see frequently asked questions, click here.

March 22, 2020

Late yesterday CDPHE issued much-needed clarification on their Social Distancing Health Order. Among other things, they added explicit exceptions for homeless shelters and child care centers, two topics discussed on the listserve last week. The revised order also contains a clear exemption for meetings of municipal governing bodies. More information can be found here.

March 21, 2020

Overnight three new executive order were signed and posted by Governor Polis, and are available for viewing here: https://www.colorado.gov/governor/2020-executive-orders Each one of these Orders reflects the Governor's authority to temporarily "suspend" the operation of state statutes during a declared emergency.

D 2020 010 Concerning Tax Relief.

The primary purpose of this one is to extend the statutory filing deadline for state income taxes, but one paragraph in the Order says this about local taxes:

"I direct DOR to coordinate with local governments that choose to extend tax payment deadlines for property, sales and use taxes and take whatever action they need to let them waive penalties and fees during the crisis." The Order does not, however, require municipalities to do anything specific at this point. Furthermore, notably, the Order does not expressly suspend any of the statutes that govern the deadlines and penalties associated with payment of state-collected sales and use taxes, or collection of property taxes by county treasurers.

D 2020 011 Concerning Alcohol and Marijuana Regulatory Relief

This Order suspends all of the statutes that prevent bars, restaurants, etc. from selling alcohol beverages for off-premises consumption. Of particular note, the Order does NOT suspend open container laws, thus any alcohol beverage for off-premises consumption can only be sold in a sealed container. The Order also relaxes certain restrictions on "sales rooms" associated with craft breweries, wineries and distilleries. The Order is effective immediately statewide, with no additional approval by local licensing authorities required. Additional information from the Liquor Enforcement is available here: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/LED%20EO%20D2020%20011%20On%20Premise%20%26%

Also included in this Order are a couple of provisions related to marijuana which weren't mentioned in the Governor's press conference yesterday, one making it easier for all MJ business to do on-line sales; another making it possible to obtain an MMJ diagnosis without physically visiting a doctor. A good analysis of these provisions is contained in this article: https://www.westword.com/marijuana/colorado-governor-allows-dispensary-curbside-orders-mmj-telemedicine-to-limit-covid-19-11670075

D 2020 012 Eviction, Foreclosure, Utility, and Unemployment Relief

In this wide-ranging Order we just want to highlight one provisions mentioned yesterday in the Governor's announcement:

"To preserve and prioritize the resources of State and local agencies and make law enforcement officers available to perform critical functions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I direct the Executive Director of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to work with all Sheriffs, Mayors, and other local leaders to take similar formal actions with their law enforcement agencies to suspend residential eviction activity in the State until April 30, 2020 unless such actions are necessary to protect public health and safety."

As you all know, most hands-on involvement by local law enforcement in the eviction process is done by county sheriffs, not municipal police departments, per C.R.S. 30-10-515, but municipal attorneys may be asked about it.

March 20, 2020

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday asked landlords and banks to be lenient toward Coloradans and keep them in their homes as thousands in the state deal with employment as a result of the new coronavirus.

The governor requested that landlords refrain from imposing late fees on tenants until at least April 30 and asked that they also hold off on evicting people who don't or can't pay. He also asked local governments to avoid using law enforcement resources for evictions that don't affect public safety.

Polis will also issue guidance to state-chartered banks that they should not foreclose on homeowners who can't make their mortgage payments.

Additionally, Polis asked utilities to give leeway to customers who may be struggling to pay because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and not cut off service. Xcel Energy and Denver Water have already taken this step.

The governor did issue one mandate regarding housing on Friday: that no state law enforcement resources — i.e. the Colorado State Patrol — be used for evictions that don't affect public safety.

Read more.

March 18, 2020

Gov. Polis announced the launch of the Help Colorado Now effort where Coloradans can donate or volunteer, as well as the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, which has already raised nearly $3 million to help Coloradans impacted by the coronavirus.

The Governor signed an executive order suspending in-person learning in public and private schools across the state from March 23 to April 17. The executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time while taking into account the needs of local communities. This order also directs the Commissioner of Education to issue guidance to support P-12 school systems in developing and implementing plans to assist families and students in accessing alternative learning, providing free and reduced lunch and breakfast, and offering waivers for instructional time as appropriate. Click here to read.

The Governor also announced that he would be extending the suspension of downhill ski area operations through April 6. COVID-19 has spread throughout many mountain communities where ski resorts are located, and this is a necessary step to help slow the spread of the virus. Last week, the Governor issued an executive order suspending ski area operations until March 22. Click here to read the order.

In accordance with CDC guidelines, the Colorado Department of Public Health also issued a public health order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people. Gatherings include community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals or any similar event that brings more than 10 people together. Click here to read.

Governor Jared Polis signed the following bills into law today (March 18, 2020):

HB 20-1301 Electronic Attendance in School District Board Meeting -Under current law, local school district boards of education may adopt policies allowing board members to participate in meetings electronically, as long as a quorum of board members is physically present. The bill specifies that members participating electronically must be included in the quorum, and that the board must have a procedure for members participating electronically to have real-time access to any materials available for in-person members. B. Mclachlan J. Sonneberg
SB 20-091 Minimum Pay For State Military Forces – Under current law, the governor may activate Colorado National Guard units for state active duty to protect life and property during natural disasters and civil emergencies. A guard member's pay rate during the emergency is determined by the member's rank and years of service; however, the minimum pay for a guard member called to emergency service is $20 per day. This bill sets the minimum pay for a member to be equivalent to the pay rate of an enlisted person holding the rank of E-4 with over six years of service. The daily pay rate for an enlisted person holding the rank of E-4 with six years of service is estimated at $88.80. Assuming a 12 hour day, this equates to about $7.40 an hour. Under current law, the minimum pay is $20.00 per day, or about $1.67 an hour. T. Exum

R. Holtorf

J. Sonneberg

R. Zenzinger

March 17, 2020

Gov. Polis signed an executive order and House Bill 20-1359 (HB20-1359) administratively, allowing Colorado's political parties to amend certain rules and procedures governing the conduct of their assemblies and conventions and to limit in-person contact during nominating assemblies and conventions. Read the executive order here and the bill here.

March 16, 2020

The state issued a public health order on the temporary suspension of dine-in service at restaurants and bars. The public health order is effective March 17, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., and for the next 30 days closes 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, restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption. These places are encouraged to offer food and beverage using a delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Read the public health order here.

March 14, 2020

Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order that directs downhill ski resorts to suspend operations for one week to slow the spread of COVID-19 and conserve medical resources in the state's mountain communities. The Governor will continue to monitor the course of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state and may amend this Executive Order accordingly. Read the full executive order here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.