Denver Gets Ready to Open Restaurants with Expanded Outdoor Seating.
Free COVID-19 Testing Available to all Symptomatic Coloradans.

I'm Representative Emily Sirota of House District 9 in southeast Denver and parts of unincorporated Arapahoe County. I appreciate the opportunity Rep. Herod has given me to connect with you on an issue near and dear to my heart - early childhood education.

As a working mom with experience in the early care and education field (ECE), I want to shed light on the challenges our communities and this industry face from the COVID-19 crisis.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we were working to address workforce challenges in early childhood education. 

Now, under increased social distancing requirements, child care providers are operating with enrollment levels as low as 50% of capacity.  However, in order to comply with higher standards for safety, they still need over 80% of their staff. This is happening simultaneously with teachers leaving the profession or facing obstacles to return due to their age, underlying health conditions, or lack of childcare for their own children.  The childcare situation has become dire.

Over recent months, we have taken strides to address this growing issue. Colorado received CARES Act funding  to support the early care and education industry. To date, Colorado has invested these funds in several areas. One is the  Emergency Child Care Collaborative , which provides child care to hundreds of members of our emergency and essential workforce. It also supports many providers in being able to offer safe, quality care during the height of the health crisis . Additionally, we have been able to support our early learning centers through a boost to the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program .

However,  more assistance is needed  to prevent the collapse of this industry. This industry is critical to both the broader economy and to our youngest Coloradans  in their most intense years of brain development. 

I will continue working on legislation to address the challenges we face as child care programs work to reopen under these new circumstances.

Without access to safe, affordable, high quality child care, many will struggle to return to the workforce. This will impede economic recovery and impact our youngest Coloradans by stripping them of the life-changing enrichment they receive through high quality care and education. 

I appreciate Rep. Herod for providing me the opportunity to connect with you, and I'm grateful for her work to ensure our vulnerable communities and populations are lifted up in this time of crisis.

With gratitude,

Emily Sirota
State Representative
House District 9

P.S. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates on these issues and more.
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

For telehealth providers and nurselines, click here.

Información en Español de la ACLU of Colorado y Servicios De La
Facebook Live Town Hall!

Join me and elected officials from Northeast and Far Northeast Denver for our weekly Facebook LIVE town hall on COVID-19.

When: Every Friday, 3:30 - 4:30 PM
Facebook event: here  
'Safer at Home'
Updated 5/18 at 1:25 PM

Denver is now in the 'Safer at Home' phase. Read about city regulations in Denver and surrounding counties.

In Denver you are  required to wear face coverings in public places 

Governor Polis' 'safer-at-home' phase now in effect, which will have many of the same recommendations and restrictions currently in effect, while allowing for a gradual reopening. Read the executive order here .

Call 2-1-1 to report Denver businesses that you believe should be closed, that are not practicing social distancing, that are not maintaining a clean and safe work environment, or that are violating any other city laws. 
COVID-19 By The  Numbers
Updated 5.21 at 4:36 PM

4,878 cases and 255 deaths.  [ Source ]

23,191 cases and 1,310 deaths. [ Source]

United States
New York leads the nation in total cases ( 361,313)  and total deaths (28,663).  Other states with high case totals include  New Jersey (151,472), Illinois (100,713), and Massachusetts (88,970). [ Source ]

The United States leads the world in new cases ( 22,116 ), total cases ( 1,614,839 ), and total deaths ( 96,068 ).  Other nations with high numbers of new cases include Peru ( 4,749 ), India ( 6,198 ), and Russia ( 8,849 ) .  [Source]. 
Updated 5.21 at 4:57 PM


Governor Polis has banned evictions statewide. [ Full text]

Homeowners can  split  their property tax payments over April and May.

Unemployment Benefits

For information on unemployment eligibility and how to file a claim, click here

Benefits are retroactive as far back as February 2nd and the federal $600 per week is retroactive as far back as March 29th, for those individuals who qualify.


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.

Click  here  for more relief support and resources. 

The Fax Partnership Program, is providing grants of up to 500 dollars for East Colfax residents who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Take this survey to see if you qualify. 
Additional COVID Updates from Governor Polis and Mayor Hancock
Updated 5/22 at 10:53 AM

*Coloradans who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 can get tested for the virus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the Pepsi Center 1000 Chopper Circle. You are asked to check the symptom tracker here to see if they qualify before going to the testing site.

*Gov. Polis  discussed  reports of a new COVID-19-linked syndrome  impacting children. There are currently three potential cases in Colorado, pending review by the CDC. Read more  here . Watch Gov. Polis' press conference  here

*Denver will release $20 million of its federal CARES Act funds to support residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denver announced a new program to allow eligible businesses to submit proposals for expanded outdoor seating. This includes restaurants, coffee shops, bars and more. Apply here

Governor Polis announced that COVID-19 testing is now available to all Coloradans with symptoms. 

Governor Polis extended certain state income tax payment deadlines until July 15. [ Full Text]

Mayor Michael Hancock announced mandatory furloughs for more than half of the city's 12,000 employees as Denver tries to address a projected $226 million revenue shortfall.

Mayor Hancock announced that 100 government employees have been trained for contact tracing. Contact tracers will always identify themselves and they will never ask for money or your social security number.

Governor Polis announced he will make a decision about spring skiing, next steps for restaurants and summer camps on May 12th. 

Downhill ski slopes will remain closed until at least May 23rd. [ Full text]

Denver is bann ed alcohol and group sports in city parks until July 23rd. 

Governor Polis announced regulations to keep residents of senior living facilities safe. Read more here.

Essential workers and government employees are required to cover their faces when close to colleagues or the public. [ Full text

Governor Polis announced the formation of a health equity response task force to ensure equitable access to care and testing for all Coloradans. The state will also be providing new COVID-19 updates including racial data.

Individuals can obtain a marriage license remotely . [ Full text ]

The Department of Corrections will have greater flexibility to manage the prison population in order to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak behind bars. [Full text]

Remote notarizations will be permitted. [Full text]

Click here for a full list of the Governor's executive orders.
Updated 5.18 at 12:42 PM

The HEROES Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill includes economic stimulus, additional money coronavirus testing and tracing capabilities, direct aid to individuals, and additional support for state and local governments, hospitals and small businesses. [ Full Text]

$175 billion in small business loans were given out in the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. 

$1,200 Economic Assistance Payments 
Who is eligible? Single adults with Social Security numbers who are U.S. residents and make $75,000 or less will  receive  $1,200 ($2,400 for a couple), which phases out for individuals making more than $99,000 or couples making more than $198,000. Eligible individuals will also receive $500 for each child 16 and younger. FAQ here.

Individuals without documentation and others without a social security number, including those with an ITIN, are not eligible.

How do I receive my direct payment?

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit, you do not need to take additional action. Automatic payments have begunClick here if you haven't received your payment. 

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and did not receive a refund, or if you did not provide your direct deposit information, you need to enter your direct deposit information here.

Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take actionRecipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.

Individuals who make less than $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 or w ere not otherwise required to file a federal tax return for 2019, and don't plan to, should fill out this quick IRS form to receive their payment. You will need to provide your  Social Security number, name, address, and dependents. 

Why can't I get my payment status? Click here for reasons why you may not be able to see your status.

I haven't received my check yet. Those who have yet to receive a stimulus check will receive their check in late May or June.

UnemploymentBenefitsExpanding unemployment benefits. More than doubles the average unemployment benefit by adding $600 to the weekly benefit. It also allows self-employed and part time workers to receive benefits. Apply here.

Delaying student loan payments. Federally-serviced student loan payments are automatically deferred until September 30th without interest or penalty. 

PERA. Waives the penalty for Coronavirus-related distributions up to $100,000 during 2020, along with other changes.

For an F.A.Q. on direct payments, unemployment and the rest of the bill, click  here
PPEPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Updated 5.15 at 1:04 PM

As of Wednesday, May 6, Governor Polis announced  that the state had distributed the following personal protective equipment.

Type of PPE
N95 Masks
Surgical Masks
Face Shields
Surgical Gowns

To donate Personal Protective Equipment. If you have small quantities of supplies to contribute, between 1-25 boxes of personal protective equipment, donate these supplies to the Denver public health department or fill out  THIS FORM for larger donations.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
Updated 5/21 at 4:13 PM

If you are in danger, call 911. 

If it's not safe for you to remain home and you can't find another safe place to stay, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233. If you can't speak safely, visit or text LOVEIS to 22522

If you or someone you know is in an unsafe living arrangement, call Safe Shelter at (303) 772-0432. 

State and national guidance to help domestic violence coalitions, service providers and advocates support survivors and operate effectively (from the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV): click here.

Tip sheet that outlines key steps in advocating for survivors' continued access to mental health and substance use services and medication, from the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health: click here.

Violence Free Colorado resources: click here.

Read Representative Monica Duran's personal story with domestic violence.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Reports of child abuse have  dropped drastically  since the stay-at-home order was implemented.  The Office of Children, Youth and Families  urges everyone to keep an eye on children and teens in your neighborhood and report neglect or abuse to this hotline: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437)
Updated 5.21 at 4:15 PM

Senior Care Centers. Governor Polis announced regulations to protect residents of senior care centers. 

Senior shopping hours. Stores are dedicating hours for seniors, click here. Kind Soopers has added hours (6-8 AM Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Certain Safeway locations have added a day (7-9 AM Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday), check with your local store. 

Scams. The AARP has compiled common scams to avoid.

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. 

Open Food Pantries in Denver. Click here for a map.

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

Coloradans living with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association of Colorado has a 24/7 helpline (800-272-3900), community resource finder, and free training courses.
HousingRent, Utilities & Services
Updated 5.21 at 4:19 PM


Governor Polis has banned residential and commercial evictions in Colorado. [ Full text]

The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project is  a collaborative, community legal project to support Coloradans struggling to pay rent. If you need to talk to a lawyer about your situation, click here. If you are a Colorado lawyer and want to volunteer, click here.

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

The Colorado Tenant's Guide to COVID-19  helps tenants navigate conversations with landlords, respond to eviction proceedings, and get support in this challenging time.

Utilities and Other Services

Xcel Energy, Denver WaterComcast, and T-Mobile have suspended service shut-offs for non-payment.  Over 700 other companies have suspended service shut-offs due to non-payment and are waiving late fees. 

AAA is providing free emergency roadside assistance for first responders and healthcare workers traveling to and from their duties. Read more here

Lyft is providing free scooter rides for first responders, medical, and transit staff. Critical business employers can email to enroll employees.

For additional resources, discounts, and offers for health care workers, click here.

Financial institutions such as American Express, Wells Fargo and Capitol One are working to provide relief to their customers. Find out more information here and here

Some car insurance companies are offering relief including Allstate, State Farm, and Geico. Click here for the full list. 
SmallBusiness Small Businesses
Updated 5.21 at 4:24 PM

*Denver eligible businesses can submit proposals for expanded outdoor seating. This 
includes restaurants, coffee shops, bars and  more . Apply  here

Can Do Colorado , is an initiative that provides guidance to businesses about increasing teleworking capabilities as well as highlights innovative businesses. 

WeAreOpenDenver is an interactive map tool that allows consumers to locate businesses. Register your business to let customers know you're open. 

A package  of support for small businesses and hospitals has been signed into law, including $310 billion for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program.  Apply now .

Colorado has opened applications for the Colorado COVID Relief Fund,  which provides small business relief funds up to $25,000. Two rounds of funding are left. 
Denver businesses who have had to temporary close, lay off staff, or are struggling to pay rent and utilities, can  apply for grants  up to $7,500.  To apply,  click here .

Resources for employers from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment

Eviction assistance for businesses, industry-specific information, and an e conomic Injury Hotline (303-860-5881 or email, from the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade.

Cl ick here for information about safer-at-home business requirements.
Updated 5.21 at 4:28 PM

Unemployment Benefits

For information on unemployment eligibility and how to file a claim, click  here

Benefits are retroactive as far back as February 2nd and the federal $600 per week is retroactive as far back as March 29th, for those individuals who qualify.

*If you have exhausted your regular unemployment benefits you may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation. You will be asked to refile a  claim. Click here to file for extended benefits. 

Other Resources

Resources for Workers  from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment.

Paid sick leave up to four days.

File a wage complaint if you were not paid for hours worked.

Layoff / separations assistance, information and resources.

Business and employee resources from the Colorado Restaurant Association

Lost your healthcare? Visit to find out if you're eligible for Health First Colorado, Colorado's Medicaid Program, and/or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) if you have dependents. 

Going Back to Work and Finding New Work

Return to Work Guidance for Workers:  here.

Health care facilities, grocery stores, package delivery companies, and companies offering online products for delivery are hiring. Register here  for more details.

Connecting Colorado state database for job seekers.

Denver resources for job assistance.

Connect to Care Jobs is a site dedicated to matching health care job seekers with immediate openings in residential care settings. Apply here
MentalHealth Mental Health
Updated 5.21 at 4:31 PM

Support for Isolated Trans People. The Validation Station is a free text service which sends daily support to isolated trans people.

Mental Health Center of Denver has compiled a list of resources to help maintain positive well-being during this time. They are providing "telemental" health and are accepting new clients. Call (303) 504-7900. 
Colorado Crisis Services. If you are concerned about your own mental health or someone close to you, call (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.

Just Breathe: How to Mange Your Mental Health During a Global Crisis. Read here

Self-care Guide to Healing from Online Harassment. Read here

Envision:You launched their COVID-19 Behavioral Health Support Program. This is a no-cost virtual tele-health service to support LGBTQ+ individuals with mental health, emotional, and substance use issues. Space is limited. Read more here
AtHomeLearning At Home Learning & Activities
Updated 5.21 at 4:34 PM

DPS has family and student  resources for Pre-K through 12th grade including at-home activities for art, math, reading / writing, science and more.

Virtually Denver includes dozens of ways to experience arts and culture from home, including Denver museums, music, and performing arts.

The Denver Public Library has free online resources including books, movies, music, story time, and other programs.

Rocky Mountain PBS will air educational programs from 6 AM - 5 PM, weekdays, to support at-home learning. View the at-home learning schedule and digital resources here

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance will launch Cyber Dance 2020, an ongoing series of classes and movement activities, serving all ages and levels of ability. Please pay what you can and contact with questions.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has online activities and a facebook page with videos of scientists in action.

Virtual Field Trips including over 500 museums, Yellowstone National Park, and the Great Wall of China.

The Stay at Home Colorado Guide has free resources, supports, and activities to help you, your family, and your loved ones during this time. You can submit suggestions of free resources here

Food Assistance for Students  and  Families
Updated 5.21 at 1:26 PM

DPS has  suspended in-person instruction for the rest of the school year.

Meal Assistance

Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. DPS students and families can receive free meals at sites throughout the city. Breakfast and lunch are available from 11 AM - 12:30 PM, Monday - Friday, and dinner is available from 3:30 - 5:30 PM. For a list of distribution sites, click here.

Powersacks. Food for Thought Denver  will be providing Powersacks at all distribution sites, 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.

Meal Delivery. School buses will deliver weekday meals to schools and community locations throughout the city for the remainder of the school year. They will stop at each site for 20 - 30 minutes to hand out breakfast and lunch. On Fridays, weekend breakfast and lunch are also available for pickup. For delivery sites, click here.

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 info on SNAP and WIC enrollment.

Students outside Denver can find nearby locations to pick up meals  here.

A map of the 44 open food pantries in Denver can be found here.

Wifi at home. N ew Comcast customers will receive 2 months of free service, which is normally $9.95/month.
Childcare and Tips for Parents
Updated 5/22 at 4:38 PM

* Gov. Polis discussed reports of a new COVID-19-linked syndrome impacting children. There are currently three potential cases in Colorado, pending review by the CDC. Read more here. Watch Gov. Polis' press conference here

*The Emergency Child Care tuition credit will no longer be available for care provided after May 24th. Families may qualify for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). More information on CCCAP can be found here.

Other Resources for Parents

Online groups in English and Spanish, from Illuminate Colorado

Donate and Volunteer
Updated 5.21 at 4:51 PM

Contribute Money

C ontribute to the statewide Colorado COVID-19 Relief Fund here. Apply here for grants up to $25,000. Next deadline is May 30th.  

COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks:  click here

First Nations Development Institute Relief Fund:
  click here

Undocumented Workers Fund:  click here

Other Donations

Blood donation - donor eligibility  here. Make an appointment  here.

Plasma donation - if you have been diagnosed and completely recovered from COVID-19, you can donate your plasma. For more information on donor eligibility and how to sign up click here

How to help feed unemployed workers, hospital staff, school kids and others in need around Denver.


Help Colorado Now has recruited more than 10,000 volunteers, including more than 2,500 health care volunteers. 

Health Care Response Volunteer Sign Up. Once you sign up you will be contacted and matched with a hospital or care facility in need in your area.

Other Volunteer Sign-up  here. Roles include administrative, client advocacy, construction, mental wellness, food bank support, language skills, healthcare, volunteer management, childcare, delivery of goods and more.

Full time Volunteers are needed for contact tracing. Click here to learn more and apply. 

Coordinate a Meal Donations to Denver Hospitals

Details for hospitals are below, or  contact my office for assistance.

Denver Health: Contact Amy Friedman at (303) 602-2926 or email

Children's Hospital: Contact Rachel Bernhardt at

National Jewish Health & St. Joseph: Contact Justine at (303) 270-2833.

Porter Adventist: Email
UC Health: Fill out  this form or thank hospital workers   here.
Presbyterian St. Luke's & Rose Medical Center: Fill out this  form explaining your donation.
College Students and Higher Education
Updated 5/21 at 4:52 PM

This guide offers a few ways that institutions are stepping up to meet students' basic needs, including buying food and paying bills. (provided by CoPIRG Foundation).

FedLoan Servicing will reduce their interest rates to 0% and automatically delay federally-serviced loan payments until September 30th.

Click here for some tips from New Era Colorado if you're struggling to pay back your student loans.

Coronavirus and Forbearance info for students, borrowers, and parents. 
Protect Yourself and Others
Updated 5/21 at 4:56 PM

Mobile testing will be available through the city's Wellness Winnie vehicle. Call 3-1-1 to see if you are eligible. No doctors note is required.

*COVID-19 testing is now available to all Coloradans with symptoms.

Find a community testing site near you. Please check with your health care provider for guidance on whether you qualify for testing and where you can get tested close to you.

Each of us can do our part to fight COVID-19 by staying home as much possible. When its necessary to leave your house, please practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Guidance For People Experiencing Symptoms, provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE)
  • Mild symptoms (might include a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness, with or without fever):  Self-isolate, and use over-the-counter medications to treat your symptoms -- like you would for a cold or other respiratory illness.
  • Serious symptoms, especially trouble breathing: Self-isolate, use over-the-counter medications and contact a health care provider or nurseline if your illness becomes more severe. The provider may recommend you be tested for COVID-19, and should be able to instruct you on how to get a test.
  • Severe symptoms: call 911 for symptoms of heart attack or stroke; difficulty breathing or choking; difficulty speaking, walking, or seeing; an allergic reaction; confusion, dizziness, or disorientation; sudden, severe pain.
Past COVID-19 Newsletters
Updated 5.21 at 2:55 PM

5.5 - Good News!

4.27  - Blood Donation

4.26 - Adopt a Pet!
4.25 - Who's Hungry?

4.12 - Easter Sunday
4.11 - Scams

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