Polis: Stricter Social Distancing Rules Likely in Colorado During Coronavirus Outbreak

Mar 18, 2020
Originally published on March 18, 2020 3:55 pm

Gov. Jared Polis is not ruling out the possibility of ordering some Colorado residents to shelter in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters from a podium that was wiped down with disinfecting wipes in a state Capitol building that is closed to the public indefinitely, Polis said stricter social distancing rules will likely be announced soon.

"If we're going to endure, if we're going to get through this, we need to figure out how to accurately and correctly be doing social distancing while allowing as much normalcy as possible," he said. "We need to act now. We need to act boldy. But we want to figure out what would be sustainable for weeks, or months."

"You can't shut down everything forever," he added. 

The state's current recommendation is to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Polis is encouraging people to stay connected online and over the phone.

As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state approached 200 on Wednesday, Polis also said it is "increasingly unlikely" that students will return to classrooms this school year.

"We want to make sure that just because in-person learning is suspended in most if not all of the state, that doesn't mean learning is suspended," he said. "We still have those teachers. We still have great staff. We still have the kids that need to learn. And we want to make sure they don't sacrifice ... a third of a year of academic achievement."

Polis has already taken a number of dramatic actions to help curb the spread of the virus in Colorado.

They include the closure of all of the state's ski areas, a 30-day closure of all dining areas of restaurants and bars and a 30-day closure of theaters, gyms and casinos.

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