COVID-19 Response
Safer-At-Home Order &
Public Health Order and Guidance

Overview of Safer-At-Home Order and Public Health Orders and Guidance 20-28

On April 20, 2020, Governor Polis announced that the Stay at Home Order, which ordered all non-critical businesses to remain temporarily closed, would be lifted on April 27, 2020, and that Colorado would move to the next level of a social distancing strategy referred to as Safer at Home. Under the new Safer at Home Order D 2020 044 , signed on April 26, 2020, many businesses will be able to resume operations using strict precautions to minimize contact between employees and between employees and customers. Through the new Executive Order and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Public Health Order (PHO) 20-28 and Safer at Home Guidance , certain business sectors will be able to reopen through a phased roll-out. 

As part of the Safer at Home Executive Order, the CDPHE released a comprehensive PHO and Guidance that details the requirement, protocols, and best practices for each business sector that is permitted to reopen. In particular, the PHO provides direction related to pet services and care facilities under Appendices A through F. The CDPHE PHO and Guidance were drafted with input from the PACFA program and industry leaders in animal welfare and pet services. 

Summary of CDPHE PHO 20-28 and Guidance Relevant to Pet Care Services

The following is a summary of the key sections and appendices of the PHO that allows the various PACFA license types to operate under the Safer at Home Executive Order. We recommend all PACFA licensees read the full PHO Order and Guidance and provide a copy to their staff for review.   

Section II: Business Requirements

  • Subsection B: All Critical Businesses may continue to operate. This applies to animal shelters, pet boarding services, rescues and sanctuaries. 

  • Subsection G. Effective May 1, 2020, Non-Critical Retail and Personal Services may resume in-person services if they meet the requirements in section II, subsection I. This applies to pet retail, pet grooming facilities, pet groomers, pet transporters, pet handlers and pet training facilities. 

  • Subsection I. Details requirements for Personal Services, and Non-Critical Retail in order to open. This applies to all PACFA license types. 

Section III. Definitions

  • Subsection C: Definition of Critical Business (see Appendix F)

  • Subsection L: Definition of Personal Services, includes, but not limited to, pet grooming, pet transporters, pet handlers and pet training.

Appendix A:  Critical and Non-Critical Retail Requirements. Applies to pet retail stores

Appendix D: Personal Services Requirements.  Applies to pet grooming, pet transporters, pet handlers and pet training

Appendix F: Critical Businesses Definition.  Applies to animal shelters, boarding services, rescues, sanctuaries
Please note that some counties and municipalities may have more restrictive requirements than the state. Check with your local public health agency and always follow the more restrictive order.

Authority of the PHO and Guidance

The PHO and Guidance have been issued under the authority of the CDPHE. As a result, this PHO and the accompanying guidance are not specific PACFA regulations. Allegations of violations of the PHO may be forwarded to CDPHE and Office of the Attorney General for investigation. See Enforcement of Public Health Orders. 

Questions about the Safer-At-Home Order and Guidance 

Additional questions related to the Safer at Home Executive Order or the PHO and Guidance can be found at the state’s Safer at Home Website. 

Additional Information Related to Changes to PACFA Regulations to Address COVID-19 
Extensions and New Exemptions to 35-80-106.4, C.R.S., Spay Neuter Requirement 
On April 26, 2020, the Governor also issued Executive Order D 2020 045 that allows “voluntary or elective” veterinary surgeries and procedures to resume on April 27, 2020 which includes spay/neuter surgeries. We understand that there may be a backlog due to the previous suspension of elective surgeries. Due to these anticipated backlogs, exemptions from 35-80-106.4 may be extended or requested in writing to your inspector or to Nick Fisher, the PACFA Program Section Chief at .  
Facilities should state the reason they are requesting the extension or requesting a new exemption. Facilities should request an exemption under Section 35-80-106.4(3)(e), C.R.S. and state the reason for the extension or exemption. These exemptions will be granted only for a limited time until surgery backlogs are resolved.  

Emergency Rule Exemption for Foster Home Inspections and Animal Limitation
On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the Colorado Department of Agriculture approved an emergency exemption provision to Rule 19.11.2 which can be found on the PACFA web page . This temporary emergency rule allows shelters and rescues to request an exemption that allows them to foster animals without first conducting an in-person foster home inspection. All other rules pertaining to in-home fostering still apply. This emergency rule is effective for 120 days from the adoption date of March 21, 2020.
Animal shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues must request an exemption to Rule 19.11.2 in writing, must not have any disciplinary actions pending and must demonstrate provisions for the safety and well-being of the animals should the exemption be granted. Video inspections would be an acceptable method to demonstrate the safety provision. To request an exemption please email your inspector or Nick Fisher, the PACFA Program Section Chief at .
Per PACFA Rule 18.22, foster homes are only allowed to foster up to 8 animals. This rule has not been changed. The 8 animal limit includes any personal animals in the home. Puppies and kittens under 8 weeks of age that are still with their mother are considered one animal. Local and county laws and ordinances may impose stricter animal limits and these supersede PACFA rules. The current rule does include an exemption provision to allow for the fostering of more than 8 animals, facilities must request this exemption in writing and demonstrate provisions for the safety and well-being of the animals should the exemption be granted.

Still In This Together

Thank you once again for all your cooperation in helping Colorado flatten the curve. We recognize that the state orders have been difficult economically for pet-related businesses. However, we are pleased to see state leadership implement thoughtful steps that will allow pet care facilities to resume operations. It is important that everyone involved in the pet service industry plays their part in implementing and adhering to the best practices outlined in the Safer at Home Executive Order and the corresponding CDPHE PHO and Guidance. Successful implementation and execution will allow pet-related businesses to provide important services for Colorado pets in a manner that keeps their employees and customers safe.