Public Health Explains Latest Order and Answers FAQs

On Thursday, March 26, Chaffee County Public Health issued an updated order (Order # 2020-03) related to COVID-19.

The updated order was in response to Governor Polis’ Executive Order D2020- 017 ordering Coloradans to stay in place due to the presence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state and the related Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) public health order. For more information on what the updated Chaffee County order means for you, please see below.

When does the local Order take effect? The local Order will take effect Friday, March 27 at 6:00 a.m.

When does the Order end? The local Order is set to last through Tuesday, April 14, 2020 unless rescinded or modified.

Why is the new Order necessary? Chaffee County must comply with State orders, although a local public health authority, including Chaffee County Public Health, may issue orders more protective of the public. Since the number of confirmed cases has continued to climb, we need to take actions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, prevent further spread, and protect against overwhelming our health care resources. The economic impacts of COVID-19 are significant, and threaten to undermine the economic stability of many Coloradans and local businesses. The period of the economic disruption must be minimized by minimizing the spread of the virus. We must take action to shore up economic security, employment, community cohesion, and community recovery.

What if there is a difference between the State Orders and local Orders? If the local Order is more restrictive, the local Order applies. For example, short-term rentals are temporarily closed locally (certain exceptions apply) but are not under the State Orders. The local rules supersede the State in this case.

Where does the local Order apply? The local Order includes all of Chaffee County, including the municipalities. Unless you work for a critical business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home. Work from home is permitted and encouraged where possible. Although this order does not apply to critical business, social distancing will be mandated for those businesses that remain open.

What is the difference between the stay in place order and social distancing? The local Order makes it very clear that Chaffee County residents should take extreme steps to avoid contact with anybody outside their household and minimize contact in public places that could be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing is an important first step in preventing the spread of a disease like COVID-19 that FAQ’s (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS) REGARDING CHAFFEE COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH’S UPDATED ORDER RELATING TO COVID-19 allows people to go about their daily activities while taking extra health and safety precautions. The Stay in Place order requires people to remain in their homes unless they are going to or from work or doing an essential task like going to the grocery store or walking a pet.

Is the local Order mandatory or just guidance? The local Order is mandatory. What does the Stay in Place order do?

For Businesses:

• Critical businesses (defined below) may continue to conduct business.

• Critical businesses not serving the public must maintain at least a six-foot distance for employees unless doing so would make it impossible to carry out critical functions.

• Critical businesses serving the public must maintain at least a six-foot distance for employees and customers at all times.

• Businesses that are NOT “critical” business should close temporarily except that employees may work from home if possible. Non-critical businesses may, however, engage in Minimum Basic Operations needed to protect assets (including inventory), ensure security, process payroll and benefits, and facilitate employees working from home. Minimum Basic Operations must comply at all times maintain at least a six-foot distance from other individuals and wash hands with soap and water as frequently as possible.

For Chaffee County residents:

• Chaffee County residents are to remain at home and only leave their home to engage in activities or perform tasks critical to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members or to go to or return from critical work.

They can leave their home to:

Obtain food and other household necessities for themselves and their family or household members. Residents are encouraged to shop no more than once a week.

Deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, food, pet supply, other household consumer products, and products or equipment necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of a residence.

Engage in outdoor activity, such as, walking, hiking, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, biking or running. For purposes of outdoor activity, parks will remain open to the public to engage in walking, hiking, biking, running, and similar outdoor activities but all playgrounds are closed. The permitted outdoor activities do not include any activities that would violate the six-foot distance requirement. As an example, golf, disc golf, basketball and other sports that can be played individually are allowed if no equipment is shared. The use of any shared equipment or facilities, such as golf carts and clubhouses, and league or tournament play is prohibited.

Perform work for critical businesses (see below).

Care for a family member, a vulnerable person, or pet in another household, or to care for livestock kept at a location other than an individual’s home. Please be sure to practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently. Elderly people and people with suppressed immune systems are at heightened risk for contracting COVID-19.

Seek medical care.

Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate until: (1) 72 hours after their symptoms cease without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, other symptoms have improved and at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or (2) they have a negative test result.

How will this order be enforced?

This local Order has the force of law in Colorado. It’s illegal to break the law. Residents who suspect that someone is violating the order should contact Chaffee County Public Health.

What is a Critical Business under the Order?

These are the businesses that will be open:

1. Healthcare Operations, Including:

Hospitals, clinics, and walk-in health facilities.

Medical and dental care, including ambulatory providers.

Research and laboratory services.

Medical wholesale and distribution.

Home health care companies, workers and aides.


Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Behavioral health care providers.

Veterinary care and livestock services.

Nursing homes, residential health care, or congregate care facilities

Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers, including durable medical equipment technicians and suppliers.

Blood banks

This does NOT include health clubs as defined in C.R.S. § 6-1-102(4.6), fitness and exercise gyms, hot springs and similar facilities. All medical, dental and veterinary care provided must comply with the directives set forth in Governor Polis’ Executive Order D 2020 009 temporarily ceasing all elective and nonessential surgeries and procedures.

2. Critical Infrastructure, Including:

Utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission.

Road and railways.

Oil and gas production field operations.

Public water and wastewater.

Telecommunications and data centers.

Transportation and infrastructure necessary to support authorized businesses.

Short-term lodging (30 days or less) but only for circumstances in which it is not safe for a guest to depart, guest travelling through the County and not using the facilities for leisure travel, emergent sheltering of at-risk community members and health care providers, and use as a long-term residence. Visitors are directed to return home immediately and persons considering visiting Chaffee County should remain home. Campgrounds are closed except for long-term lodgers (30 days or more).

Businesses and organizations that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged, persons with access and functional needs, or otherwise needy individuals.

Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering, commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain.

3. Critical Manufacturing, Including:

Food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages.


Computers and computer components.

Medical equipment supplies or instruments.


Sanitary products.




Household paper products.

Any manufacturing necessary to support a Critical business.

4. Critical Retail, Including:

Grocery stores including all food and beverage stores.

Farm and produce stands.

Gas stations and convenience stores.

Restaurants/bars (for take-out/delivery only as defined in Updated Notice of Colorado Public Health Order 20-22.

Marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery – see Executive Order D 2020 011).

Liquor stores.

Firearms stores.

Hardware, farm supply, and building material stores.

Establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products).

Pet supply stores.

5. Critical Services, Including:

Trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal.

Mail and shipping services, and locations that offer PO boxes.

Self-serve laundromats and garment and linen cleaning services for critical businesses.

Building cleaning and maintenance.

Child care services (must follow specific guidance from the State Department of Public Health).

Bicycle-shops for the sole purpose of supplying repair parts and repairing and maintenance of bicycles but not including retail sales or rental of bicycles and equipment for leisure use. Bicycle shops must follow Social Distance Requirements and establish when possible curb-side service.

Auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships that include repair and maintenance, provided that retail activity ceases).

Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, including freight distributors. o Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries.

In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end of life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatest extent possible. Houses of worship may remain open but in-person services are limited to 10 or fewer congregants. Use of electronic platforms are encouraged.

Storage for critical businesses.

Animal shelters, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities.

6. News Media




Other media services.

7. Financial and Professional Institutions, Including:

Banks and credit institutions.

Insurance, payroll, and accounting services.

Services related to financial markets.

Legal offices, title companies, real estate appraisals and transactions. 8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:

Homeless shelters and congregate care facilities.

Food banks.

Human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support.

9. Construction, Including:

Especially for housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people.

Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers.

Other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences and critical businesses. All permitted construction must maintain at least a six-foot distance for employees and customers at all times.

10. Defense

Defense and security-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor to either or all.

Aerospace operations.

Military operations and personnel.

Defense suppliers.

11. Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses, Including:

Law enforcement.

Fire prevention and response.

Building code enforcement.


Emergency management and response.

Building cleaners or janitors and landscape services related to general maintenance and repair.

General maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor.

Automotive repair.


Snow removal.

12. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, to other Critical Business, Including:


Technology support for online and telephone services.

Child care programs and services.

Government owned or leased buildings.

Critical government services.

13. Educational Institutions that Provide Critical Services to Students and the General Public:

K-12 public and private schools for the purpose of providing meals, facilitating or providing materials for distance learning and providing other essential services to students.

Post secondary institutions, including private and public colleges and universities, for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions.

14. Critical Government Functions. The provision, operation and support of the following government functions shall continue:

Public safety (police stations, fire and rescue stations, correctional institutions, emergency vehicle and equipment storage, and, emergency operation centers);

Emergency response;

Judicial branch operations, including attorneys if necessary for ongoing trials and required court appearances, unless appearances can be done remotely;

Emergency medical (hospitals, ambulance service centers, urgent care centers having emergency treatment functions, and non-ambulatory surgical structures but excluding clinics, doctors’ offices, and non-urgent care medical structures that do not provide these functions);

Designated emergency shelters;

Communications (main hubs for telephone, broadcasting equipment for cable systems, satellite dish systems, cellular systems, television, radio, and other emergency warning systems, but excluding towers, poles, lines, cables, and conduits);

Public utility plant facilities for generation and distribution (hubs, treatment plants, substations and pumping stations for water, power and gas, but not including towers, poles, power lines, buried pipelines, transmission lines, distribution lines, and service lines);

Transportation. Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for necessary activities;

Transportation infrastructure (aviation control towers, air traffic control centers, and emergency equipment aircraft hangars), critical road construction and maintenance;

Hazardous material safety;

Services to at-risk populations and vulnerable Individuals;

Any government service required for the public health and safety, government functionality, or vital to restoring normal services.

What will be open during the duration of the local Order? Will grocery stores be open? Yes, essential services will still be operational including, but not limited to:

Grocery stores.

Gas stations.


Police stations.

Fire stations.

Hospitals, clinics and healthcare operations.


Public transportation.

Public benefits (i.e. SNAP, Medicaid) hotlines.

Can I order food/groceries? Yes, some businesses are offering grocery delivery as well as meal-delivery, drive through, and take-out options.

Will liquor and cannabis stores be open? Yes. Items will on be for sale only for off-site consumption and while purchasing social distancing should be practiced.

How can I get medical care if I need it? If you are feeling sick, call your doctor, a nurse hotline, any telehealth hotline set up specifically for COVID-19 (check with your insurance company) or an urgent care center. If you are experiencing symptoms or are currently in isolation, you should stay at home and follow the guidelines provided by your physician. Do not go to an emergency room unless necessary. Nonessential medical care like eye exams and teeth-cleaning should be postponed. When possible, healthcare visits should be done remotely. Contact your healthcare provider to see what tele-health services they provide.

Can I get a prescription filled or other healthcare needs? Yes. Pharmacies and other medical services will remain open. You should request for your prescriptions to be delivered to your home if that is possible.

Will public transportation and ridesharing be available? Public transportation and ridesharing should be used for essential travel only. When possible, walk or drive yourself.

Will roads in Colorado be closed? No, the roads will not be closed in Colorado. You should only travel if it is essential to your work or health.

Can I take a flight out of state? Planes and any other form of travel should only be used if absolutely necessary.

What if my home is not a safe environment? If it is not safe for you to remain home, you are able and urged to find another safe place to stay during this order. Please reach out so we can help. You may call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or contact your local law enforcement.

What About Children? Does the Stay in Place order mean I can’t take my kids to the park? Families will still be able to go outside, including to local parks and outdoor spaces that remain open, and take a walk, run, or bike ride but should continue to practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from other people. Playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of increasing transmission. The permitted outdoor activities do not include any activities that would violate the six foot distance requirement, although the distancing requirement does not apply to members of the same household.

Is child care open? Licensed child care remains open under specific guidance from the State Department of Public Health.

Can I pick up meals being provided by my child’s school? Yes. Schools that provide free food services to students will continue on a pick-up and take-home basis.

What about my pet? Pet supply stores and veterinary services will remain open. You are allowed to walk your dog and seek medical care for your pet should they require it. Be sure to practice social distancing while out on walks, maintaining at least 6 feet from other neighbors and their pets. Pet grooming facilities are temporarily closed.

Religious Services Can I go to Church? Houses of worship may remain open but in-person services are limited to 10 or fewer congregants. Use of electronic platforms are encouraged.

Dan R

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