Denver's Stay-at-Home Order Is In Effect

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have received a lot of questions from you all about COVID-19 and the criminal justice system. Thankfully, our friends at the ACLU have answers! I have asked Denise Maes to give a brief update about what they have been up to. Let us know if you have an idea or concern that you would like us to include in the newsletter here. Leslie


As the Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Colorado, I spend significant time thinking about the 35,000 Coloradans incarcerated in our jails and prisons. Right now, they are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

Colorado's criminal justice leaders recently sent a letter to Governor Polis, the State Court Administrator, the Directors of Corrections and Public Safety and the Chief Justice of our courts, with the following statement:

"It's not a question of IF the COVID-19 virus will take hold in Colorado's jails and prisons; its a matter of WHEN."

Public health experts recognize that there is a heightened risk of infection for people involved in the legal system. This is not just an issue about the safety of inmates, but rather the safety of jail personnel, contractors, public defenders and probation officers - all of which visit the jails daily. 

There are now 4 confirmed cases in the Public Defenders Office and reports of several inmates quarantined in various jails across the state.

Today, the Governor issued guidance to counties, municipalities, local law enforcement agencies and detention centers, emphasizing the need to incarcerate fewer people. The guidance asks law enforcement to focus on issuing a summons or a citation rather than arrest and when arrest is needed, to prioritize serious and violent offenses over non-violent offenses. 

Jails are a revolving door to and from the community, creating the possibility of a super highway of transmission from the jail to free Coloradans. We have heard numerous times that the CDC emphasizes social distancing, which means staying six feet apart and avoiding a gathering of more than ten individuals. Jails certainly cannot adhere to these critical guidelines. Inmates literally sleep, eat and use the toilet within a few feet of one another. 

The Governor's guidance is a good first step. We need to see more from our courts and prosecutors in an effort to decrease the jail population and in-person court appearances. Let's keep in mind that over half of our jail population statewide and in Denver is innocent. They are pretrial and are there because they couldn't afford to buy their freedom.


Denise Maes
Public Policy Director
ACLU of Colorado
Stay Informed  with reliable, up-to-date information on COVID19. For general questions, call (303) 389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911. For written answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more, email

You can find a list of telehealth providers and nurselines here For information on COVID19 en Español  click here  (Provided by Denver Health). 
Denver's Stay-at-Home Order

To slow the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Hancock has issued a mandatory  stay-at-home order for Denver, which is now in effect. 

Click here for the full text, including exemptions to the restrictions summarized below. Find frequently asked questions here.
  • Individuals in Denver are ordered to stay at home. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt. 
    • Individuals may leave for outdoor activities as long as they are maintaining social distancing. Parks will stay open for individual activities only. Playgrounds will close.
  • Businesses in Denver are required to close for in-person work.
  • Public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a home are prohibited.
Several of the exemptions are listed below.  This not a comprehensive list. Review the full list here.

Allowed Activities
  • Obtaining medication, visiting a health care professional, or other activities related to health and safety
  • Caring for a family member or pet in another household
  • Shopping for food and picking up take-out from a restaurant. DPS students and families are allowed to pick up meals at DPS food distribution sites.
  • Individual outdoor activities like walking, running, biking, and hiking
Businesses which can remain open
  • Health care operations, pharmacies and dispensaries (medical & recreational)
  • Grocery stores, farmers markets, convenience stores, pet supply stores and liquor stores. Restaurants can still deliver food and offer takeout meals
  • Gas stations and auto repair shops, banks, laundromats, child care facilities
  • Rideshare operators (uber, lyft, etc)
Find frequently asked questions  here .
COVID-19 By The  Numbers

Colorado: 192 new cases were reported on Tuesday for a total of 912 cases and 11 deaths. [ Source]

United States: All 50 states have confirmed cases, with the largest hotspots in New York (25,665 cases), New Jersey (3,675 cases), and California (2,484 cases). [ Source ]

Global:  China, South Korea and Singapore have been reporting less than 100 new cases per day, while 3 countries reported more than 4,500 new cases on Monday, including Italy (4,789 new cases), Spain (6,368 new cases), and the United States (10,168 new cases) [ Source ]
Economic Relief

Governor Polis has recently taken the following executive actions:

Expediting payment of unemployment claims.

Asking companies to allow  deferment for payment for mortgages, and  landlords not to charge late fees for rent until April 30th.

For Individuals and Businesses in Denver: 

Denver small businesses can seek cash grants of up to $7,500 from a $4 million relief fund created by Mayor Hancock and the City of Denver. Apply here.

Denver has announced initial Economic Relief Package for Business and Employees. Read more about these packages here.
Additional COVID-19 Updates from the Governor

Non-critical workplaces in Colorado are required to reduce their in-person workforce by 50%, with certain exceptions.  [Full Text]

Gov. Polis launched the state's Innovation Response Team (IRT) to ramp up a mass testing program for COVID-19 and develop alternatives for critical medical supplies in short supply.

Restaurants can sell alcohol for take-out or delivery. This website lists Metro Denver and Boulder restaurants that are still open.

Suspension of elective and nonessential surgeries and medical procedures, to free up medical devices and personal protective equipment for medical staff.

Hair and nail salons, spas, tattoo and massage parlors are CLOSED until April 30th.

Federal Response

Signed on March 6th: the  Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, a $8.3 billion  package including:
  • $3 billion+ for development of vaccines and therapeutics;
  • $9.3 million in funds for Colorado to support state and local health agencies
  • Support for small businesses -- allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.
Signed on March 18th: the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes:
  • Free coronavirus testing for those who needs a test, including uninsured;
  • Paid emergency leave; 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave;
  • Enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a first step that will extend protections to furloughed workers;
  • Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors nutrition and food banks; 
  • Clear protections for frontline workers, including health care workers and other workers who are in contact with those who have been exposed or are responsible for cleaning at-risk places; 
  • Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs. 
Additional Legislation

A $1-2 trillion economic stimulus package is being negotiated in Congress that would  include sending checks directly to Americans.

For more information on the federal response to COVID-19, click here.
Connect for Health CO Open!
You called for it and we answered! You can NOW sign up for health insurance through the Colorado Health Exchange. This special enrollment window will close on April 3rd.
Resources for Seniors 

Senior shopping hours. Stores are dedicating hours for seniors, click here.

Show our seniors some love and support. Read  7 ways to boost your loved one's morale here (provided by AARP).

Transportation  for seniors. The Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council has transportation options for older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Older Adult Resource Directory. An extensive directory of contact information, including benefits, emergency services, meals and healthcare. 

Food pantry schedule. A listing of over 30 Denver food pantries.

Denver Regional Council of Governments Aging and Disability Resources. A collection of resources including guides to in-home healthcare, transportation, and legal assistance.
Paying Rent & Utilities

Denver's Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance (TRUA) program can pay utility bills and up to 80% of rent.

Xcel Energy, Denver Water (en español) and Comcast / Xfinity Wifi have suspended utility shut-offs for non-payment.

T-Mobile has announced that they will not terminate service because of inability to pay and will waive ate fees.

1) N ot terminate service to customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

2) W aive late fees caused by circumstances related to COVID-19.
Small Businesses & Workers

Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can seek individual small business loans up to $2 million as part of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

If you have been laid off due to a business closure related to COVID-19, are experiencing wage reductions or are working fewer hours, you can file a claim here

Resources from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, including information on paid sick leave.

Business and employee resources from the Colorado Restaurant Association.
Mental Health

Mental Health Colorado has updated its resource page with useful information for those who are struggling with mental health or substance use challenges.  

Colorado Crisis Services. If you are more seriously concerned about your own mental health or that of someone close to you, call 1-844-493-8255 or text "TALK" to 38255.

National Crisis Text Line. Text SHARE to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. It's free, confidential and available 24/7.

Maria Droste Counseling Center. Providers can  connect virtually with clients.

Denver Metro Counseling  is providing  online therapy

Denver Therapy Match. Search for Denver providers here.

Open Path. For additional reduced rate options

Psychology Today. Search for statewide providers here.
Food Assistance for Students  and Families

Denver Public School students and family members  can receive free meals at twelve sites . Breakfast is available from 8-9 a.m., and lunch is available from 12-1 p.m.

The locations are: 
  • Abraham Lincoln High School, 2285 S Federal Blvd
  • Valverde Elementary School, 2030 W Alameda Ave
  • Joe Shoemaker School, 3333 S Havana St.
  • Place Bridge Academy, 7125 Cherry Creek N Dr.
  • Cowell Elementary School, 4540 W 10th Ave
  • North High School, 2960 Speer Blvd
  • STRIVE Prep - Sunnyside, 4735 N Pecos St
  • Bruce Randolph School, 3955 Steele St
  • Denver Center for International Studies - Baker, 574 W 6th Ave
  • Manual High School, 1700 E 28th Ave
  • The Evie Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St
  • The Montbello Campus, 5000 Crown Blvd
In addition, Food for Thought Denver  will be providing Powersacks at all twelve locations, every Friday. Each Powersack contains enough food for a family of four for two days. They are available for anyone in need, not just DPS students.

Hunger Free Colorado has set up a Food Resource Hotline for anyone who needs help locating food. Call 855-855-4626, M - F (8 am - 4:30 pm) to find school meals, food pantries, and SNAP and WIC enrollment.

Students outside Denver can find nearby locations to pick up meals  here.
Childcare and Resources for Parents

If you are a health care professional or work in public safety, and need childcare, you may be eligible to receive it through the  Emergency Childcare Collaborative .

How to talk to your child about COVID-19.

Personal Protective Equipment and other medical supplies.
Please drop off items from this list, including unused personal protective equipment, with Project C.U.R.E.

Location: 10377 E Geddes Ave Ste. 200, Centennial, CO 80112

Hours: 7 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Friday. If you cannot drop off during those hours, you can leave supplies by the West door of the building.

Help Colorado Now : Donate money or sign up to volunteer here.

Blood donors needed. Donor eligibility here . Make an appointment here.
College Students and Higher Education

Meeting Students' Basic Needs During COVID-19.  This guide offers a few of the ways that institutions are stepping up to meet students' basic needs, including buying food and paying bills. (provided by CoPIRG Foundation).

Do not call 911 if you are seeking general medical advice or a COVID-19 test.

If you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care.  The  CDPHE   has provided guidance to those experiencing symptoms:

For people with mild symptoms: Early on, symptoms may feel like a cold, including cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness.
  • If you have mild symptoms including a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or suspect that you were exposed, please stay home and self-isolate Use over-the-counter medication to treat mild symptoms. M ost individuals recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking pain and fever-reducing medications.
For people with more serious symptoms, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath:
  • Continue to self-isolate Call your health care provider or a nurseline if your illness becomes more severe, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath. Your provider may recommend you be tested for COVID-19.
For people with severe symptoms: (severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing)
  • Call 911 and tell the dispatcher your symptoms. These could include symptoms  of heart attack or stroke; d ifficulty breathing; c hoking; d ifficulty speaking, walking, or seeing; s evere allergic reactions; c onfusion, dizziness, or disorientation; or s udden, severe pain.
Paid for by Leslie Herod for Colorado. Contributions are limited to $400 every 2 year election cycle from individuals, sole proprietorships, LLPs, LLCs and state PACS and $5,350 from small donor committees. Contributions from corporations, labor unions, foreign governments and non-US citizens are prohibited. Contributions are not tax deductible. Donations from registered Colorado lobbyists or principals of lobbyists are prohibited during the legislative session running from January 8th to May 6th, 2020 and any email or donation page from this campaign is not soliciting a contribution from lobbyists or principals of lobbyists. 

Leslie Herod for Colorado
200 E. Colfax Ave., Rm. 322
Denver, CO 80203