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State Takes Steps To Protect Residents From 'Unheralded' Economic Toll Of Virus

Gov. Jared Polis is issuing several new orders to try and limit the economic damage from the spread of the coronavirus.

Polis is encouraging property owners to stop charging penalties for late rent payments until April 30 as thousands of workers lose their jobs. He says tenants shouldn't be evicted if they can't pay.

He is also ordering the Colorado State Patrol and other state law enforcement agencies to stop carrying out all eviction and foreclosure orders unless they are necessary to protect the public.

"We have to prioritize our law enforcement resources during this crisis, and clearly the priority should not be on enforcing eviction orders," Polis said. "You should not lose your home or your utilities simply because a restaurant was forced to close down to prevent hundreds or thousands of Coloradans from dying."

Polis is also trying to ease the financial hit on restaurants that have been ordered to close their dining areas until April 30.

He said he is suspending licensing requirements to allow restaurants to deliver beer and wine and offer it with take out orders.

The order applies only to restaurants that are already licensed to sell alcohol.

Polis did not announce a shelter in place order. But on Thursday, he did extend the closures of restaurants, casinos, theaters and other large gathering places until April 30. He added salons, spas and massage and tattoo parlors to the order.

Polis is also working on a number of other actions in response to COVID-19, including:

  • Expediting the payment of state unemployment claims
  • Extending the deadline to file your state income taxes for 90 days. The new deadline is July 15.
  • Creating a new economic task force to make policy recommendations to help the economy recover after the spread of the coronavirus, led by former Denver mayor Federico Pena.

Regarding the new task force, Pena told reporters the virus' impact on businesses and individuals will be "unheralded."

"This is extremely complicated," Pena said. "The good news is Colorado's economy is more diverse. But we are not exempt from the challenge."

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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