The state of Colorado will be under a stay-at-home order, as announced Wednesday by Gov. Jared Polis. It will go into effect Thurs., March 26 at 6 a.m. and continue through April 11.
"While we've made progress, that progress is not enough," Polis said, referencing social distancing and closure efforts already put in place by the state.
Polis has been hesitant to take this step, but said social distancing isn’t doing enough. He added that "we need time" to build hospital capacity. He said he was persuaded that a statewide approach was necessary as the number of deaths from the coronavirus grew from 11 to 19 in one day.
"At the peak of the crisis we expect we will need thousands of more hospital beds," said Polis.
He said he believes the statewide stay-at-home order will prevent more deaths in the state.
"We're not talking about [saving] one or two lives, we're talking about [saving] thousands of Coloradan lives," said Polis.
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) March 25, 2020
He emphasized the personal responsibility of each person to reduce the spread of the virus and to save lives, saying he is "proud of everyone who is taking this seriously."
All businesses and government functions considered non-essential will be closed. Essential businesses include health care providers, grocery stores, child care facilities, banks and shelter operators.
Residents will still be allowed to fill prescriptions and access laundry facilities. Take-out food will also still be allowed. All instances will require at least six-feet of social distancing.
"Speed is of the essence as cases continue to grow," said Polis.
Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers had been resisting a stay-at-home order and on Tuesday held a press conference about practicing safe distancing while visiting city parks.
After the announcement from the governor, Suthers released a statement saying Colorado Springs will follow the order, but "because the physical order will not be available until late tonight, we cannot yet provide further guidance until we know the specifics and exceptions and exemptions that are or are not to be included."
Community leaders in Pueblo met Tuesday to talk about the possibility of a stay-at-home order, similar to ones previously passed in Denver and other areas of the state. They said delays in test processing at the state level mean many results are pending for the county, resulting in difficulty in measuring the spread of COVID-19 in Pueblo.
Over the past two weeks, Polis ordered the closure of all non-essential personal services including hair and nail salons, spas, tattoo and massage parlors. All of the state's schools will be closed until at least April 17 to guard against the spread of COVID-19.
The governor previously announced the state Department of Public Health and Environment had issued a public health order that went into effect March 19, and "will limit all mass gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next 30 days unless otherwise extended by the executive director of CDPHE."
Bars and restaurants had previously been ordered to cancel all dine-in services in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.