Stay-at-home order shifts to ‘safer-at-home’; stay in if you can

RBC | Monday was the official day for Colorado’s stay-at-home orders to be lifted. Gov. Polis, as expected, shifted the state public health order to a “safer-at-home” version that will allow businesses to begin to open up in stages and with strict precautions.

The phased plan for reopening has led to some confusion for business owners and citizens. In addition, counties are submitting individual plans to the state for reopening. Current guidelines will be revisited in two weeks and adapted as needed.

From the county, “Rio Blanco County is exercising its authority to have a local government variance from state orders, allowing us to evaluate our community’s readiness and capacity as we move through each phase of re-opening. We support the scientific basis for the state orders and will continue to adhere to best practice guidelines, however, we will tailor these recommendations to our community specifically as we monitor cases and readiness here locally.”

Residents are free to abide by the state’s more restrictive rules, or the county’s guidelines. Rio Blanco County will not enforce the stricter state guidelines but individuals and businesses should be aware that their decisions could subject them to state-imposed consequences for violating state orders. Business owners should consult with their particular regulatory industry for specifics. The current goals are effective through May 11.

What has not changed?

  • Hand hygiene.
  • Social distancing. Maximize physical distance from others in public settings and avoid socializing in groups of 10 or more.
  • Face coverings are recommended for all residents in public settings.
  • Stay home if you can – if you can telework, that is encouraged.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • Older adults and at-risk citizens asked to continue to stay at home for their own safety.
  • Restaurants remain limited to take-out and delivery options only.
  • Nursing homes are still closed to visitors.
  • Churches closed to gatherings of more than 10.
  • Gyms and spas remain closed.
  • Childcare and schools remain closed.

What has changed?

  • Local government offices and critical businesses can re-open under strict precautions.
  • Other businesses may open May 4 with strict precautions and 50% staffing.
  • Realtors can commence with showings, but no open houses.
  • Elective dental/surgical services are available based on the availability of PPE. Check with your dentist or physician.
  • Personal services and retail shops can reopen with strict precautions May 1.

Because the current guidelines and orders are subject to change at any time, and requirements differ among industries, anyone with questions is encouraged to visit the county’s public health website at for more information. For specific state information and industry definitions and guidelines, visit

By Niki Turner |