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Denver mayor issues stay-at-home order amid coronavirus outbreak

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Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 21:47:58-04

DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday issued a "stay-at-home" executive order amid the coronavirus outbreak, ordering all city residents to stay inside their homes except for essential reasons.

The order — which carries up to a $999 civil penalty, per violation — begins 5 p.m. Tuesday and will run through April 10. Hancock can extend the order, if needed.

"This isn't a recommendation anymore," Hancock said at an afternoon news conference. "People need to stay at home ... we will enforce when and where necessary."

Exemptions to the order include people in essential positions that need to travel to work and residents going to the grocery store, gas station, bank or other essential businesses. Other essential businesses and services under the order include: Hardware stores; plumbing, electrical and extermination services; mailing and postal services; laundromats and dry cleaning; and home-based care. Outdoor exercise will also be permitted under the order, as long as proper social distancing of at least six feet is taken.

Read the full stay-at-home order here.

Hancock said high activity in city parks over the weekend, including loosely organized sports and picnics, factored into his decision to take more stringent measures. City parks will stay open during the order but physical distancing will be required.

Residents will still be allowed to pick up to-go orders from restaurants. While the original order said that liquor stores and recreational marijuana shops were not exempt, the city amended the order about an hour later to say that liquor stores and all marijuana stores with "extreme physical distancing in place will be exempt."

The update to the order also allows "all construction operations and projects" to be exempt.

Hancock asked residents for voluntary compliance with the order but said the city would "enforce as necessary."

Denver wasn't the only city issue an order of this magnitude.

On Monday evening, city of Boulder official also said they would be issuing a stay-at-home order for their residents. The order goes into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m. and runs through April 10. The order, just like Denver's, may also be extended as needed.

"Voluntary measures are not enough, and we must enact a stay at home order for everything but the most essential activities if we are to flatten the curve and stop the social spread of COVID-19," Boulder officials said in a statement.

Both Denver's and Boulder's orders followed Gov. Jared Polis' announcement on Sunday, ordering employers to cut in-person workforces at businesses to 50% or less by Tuesday.

Polis on Monday said he was "strongly in support" of local stay-at-home efforts, such as the one in Denver and also in San Miguel, Gunnison, Eagle and Summit counties in the high country.