While Colorado does not have any shelter-in-place orders in effect as of March 19, we can take a look at Northern California for an example of how it might look here if that step is taken.
Here’s what you need to know about the shelter-in-place orders:
What does “shelter in place” mean?
If you hadn’t heard the term “social distancing” before the coronavirus outbreak, you surely have by now. Shelter in place is essentially social distancing to the highest degree.
All businesses and government functions not considered essential must be shut down. Public and private gatherings of any size outside a home are prohibited. And travel is prohibited, except for those performing essential activities, operating essential businesses or maintaining essential government functions.
Although you don’t need permission to leave your house, you have limited options once outside.
When am I allowed to leave my house?
If you operate or work for an “essential business.” This includes health care providers, bankers, grocers, childcare facilitators and shelter operators.
If you provide “essential governmental services” needed to ensure the continued operation of government agencies, such as police and fire protection and transportation.
If you need to conduct “necessary activities.” That would include obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor, purchasing necessary supplies such as groceries and personal hygiene products, or providing necessary care and supplies to family members in another household.
How will this be enforced?
It’s unclear at this point to what extent local authorities would enforce a mandate like this in Colorado.
In Northern California there is a shelter-in-place order in effect and San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said Monday that violation of the order is “enforceable as a misdemeanor” but clarified that it would be “an absolute last resort.”
Can I still go out to pick up groceries?
Yes, you are still allowed to go to grocery stores.
What’s the deal with restaurants?
Most likely, restaurants would still be encouraged to stay open and sell food strictly on a delivery and take-out basis.
What else will be open?
The Northern California order labels “essential businesses” as:
- Grocery stores
- Medical facilities and hospitals
- Gas stations and auto repair shops
- Hardware stores
- Childcare facilities and educational institutions, though only through distance learning
- Restaurants for delivery or take-out
Can I still go to visit my friends, significant others or elderly relatives?
The northern California directive states that all nonessential travel is prohibited, so technically that would include seeing friends and significant others who may live in another housing unit.
Traveling to care for an elderly or minor relative or another vulnerable person in another household is allowed.
Can I go outside for a walk or exercise?
Yes, you’re not going to get cited if you set foot outside for some much-needed fresh air.
You can still go on a walk or exercise or take a pet to do its thing outside — as long as you maintain good social distancing practices and stay at least six feet from any other person.
Can I use public transportation or still get on that flight I booked?
Public transportation would most likely continue to operate for those who need to perform essential services, but passengers will have to keep at least six feet from each other.