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Polis Orders Bars, Restaurants To Close For 30 Days To Curb Coronavirus Threat

Gov. Jared Polis speaks at the state Capitol about his order to close dine-in sections of bars and restaurants in the state. Reporters were required to sit far apart as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in the U.S.
Scott Franz
/
Capitol Coverage
Gov. Jared Polis speaks at the state Capitol about his order to close dine-in sections of bars and restaurants in the state. Reporters were required to sit far apart as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in the U.S.

Speaking in an eerily quiet state Capitol building that had closed to the public for a deep clean, Gov. Jared Polis ordered Monday that all bars and restaurants in the state close their dining areas for at least 30 days to help curb the spread of coronavirus. 

He also ordered the closure of large gathering places, such as casinos, theaters and gyms. Take-out and delivery service can continue.

"These steps are very painful for our state," Polis told reporters who were required to sit at least six feet away from each other to help avoid the spread of the virus. "And while they may be an inconvience to you if you're a customer, imagine how difficult they are for the workers and owners of those facilities, many of which will have a tough time staying viable."

The move came two days after Polis ordered the closure of all the state's ski areas. He said the moves would help save lives and avoid more serious impacts to the economy and daily life down the road.

"For everybody who is taking this seriously, you are a hero," he said. 

He encouraged residents to share their stories of social isolation, good handwashing techniques and social distancing on social media using the hashtag #DoingMyPartCO

"Maybe it's time to start a new book or TV series," he said. "Or learn a new language or catch up on family time."

He said 20 people had been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado. He also warned that there are likely thousands of residents who have the virus but have not been tested for it.

"I know this is a difficult time, but we're in this together and we'll get through this together," he said.

Across the street at the Joint Budget Committee, lawmakers had just heard some grim news about the state's budget forecast.

Economists working for the legislature have slashed their revenue projections by more than $800 million for the next budget year, largely because of the impact of the coronavirus.

Lawmakers were told the economic forecast is still "extremely uncertain."

Copyright 2020 KUNC

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.
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