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."