Polis: State Won't Enforce Social Distancing But "Grim Reaper" Will, Orders More Working From Home

Mar 22, 2020

Gov. Jared Polis today ordered non-essential businesses to reduce the number of people physically present in the workplace by 50 percent, and more if possible.

He said that while the state was not wielding enforcement authority to keep people at home, there is a more severe enforcement authority that should keep people home for themselves and others: "the Grim Reaper."

"It is not the threat of you being brought to prison, it is the threat of death," he said.

He said that he expects private businesses to comply with the order by Tuesday. Businesses that can prove they are able to keep workers at least six feet apart are allowed to keep their workforce in the office.

Gov. Polis also:

  • announced the creation of a new team, intended to find innovative ways to address the crisis;
  • said medical professionals have advised his administration that at the height of an outbreak, Colorado may need 7,000 more ventilators than it currently has—and that the federal government had indicated that states were on their own;
  • said "extreme social distancing measures" were critical, temporarily, in the state's efforts to contain COVID-19.

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