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Broomfield on Friday extended its local stay-at-home order through May 8. The move comes in advance of the statewide mandate being lifted Sunday as Colorado transitions to what Gov. Jared Polis has dubbed “safer at home” guidelines. 

The decision by City Council, acting as the board of health, echoes moves made by other area communities including Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, Adams and Arapahoe counties as they seek the best way to confront the coronavirus pandemic.  

City and County Manager Jennifer Hoffman in a news release stated, “this regional approach is critical for our community whose residents live and work across counties; the virus doesn’t know boundaries.”

Retail businesses in Broomfield will be allowed to offer curbside services starting Monday. Businesses will be allowed to open for in-person shopping, with public health precautions in place, on May 9, according to a news release sent late Friday night after the hours-long electronic meeting at which the stay-at-home order was extended.

“There are no easy answers. This recommendation and decision has not been made lightly, the immediate implementation of the governor’s safer-at-home order does not allow Broomfield the time to ensure a structure and implementation to best protect the health of our residents, short term and long term,” Broomfield Public Health Director Jason Vahling stated in the news release.  

After some debate, Council at the Friday night meeting voted 7-3 to allow residents to call in during a public comment period. More than 30 residents took the opportunity. While some urged city and county leaders to extend the stay-at-home order, others said an extension would hurt small businesses and oppress residents’ freedoms.

Business owners said the extension would undo the work they had done preparing to reopen, with one calling the move unacceptable. “I am angered as a business owner that we sent new policies and procedures informing our staff (in preparation for opening) only to be told ‘never mind, you can’t go back to business,’” she said.

But some residents urged Council not to relax restrictions just yet.

“It would put us at risk of catching COVID-19,” one caller said. “I don’t want to lose anyone I love because of an irrational decision. The economy will rebound. I don’t want anyone to lose their life because of fear that we can’t overcome this situation.”

Gov. Jared Polis’s month-long stay-at-home order is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, signaling a transition to what he is calling a “safer at home” initiative, with individual counties left to tailor their approach going forward to meet specific needs and conditions as some business activities are permitted to resume Monday with a relaxing of restrictions.

Hoffman during the meeting said there is no intention to extend the stay-at-home measure again.

“We ensure those folks out there that this is not a moving target and not a moving date,” she said.

Broomfield, in the news release, stated it is working to meet the conditions needed  to ensure the spread of COVID-19 does not surge after stay-at-home restrictions are eased. Those conditions, according to the release, include: 

  • Transmission of the virus is controlled.
  • Local hospitals are able to treat all patients needing hospitalization.
  • Testing is available, and there is the capacity to monitor those who have tested positive, as well as their close contacts.
  • Outbreak risks are minimized in settings such as health facilities and nursing homes.
  • Adequate preventive measures are in place in workplaces, businesses, and other essential locations.

In the next two weeks, according to the release, Broomfield will continue efforts to: 

  • Identify and cross-train staff to implement COVID-19 case management, including contact tracing and monitoring, complete case investigations and enforce isolation and quarantine orders.
  • Expand and improve testing. 
  • Partner with local businesses to prepare for reopening with guidelines and policies to maintain the best public health practices. 

Mayor Pat Quinn, in the release stated, “Broomfield needs time to prepare for the statewide safer-at-home public health order. If we move too quickly, the consequences could be dire, if not deadly. I know this community and I know we can give up a little today for what’s best for Broomfield tomorrow.” 

Broomfield as of Friday had 126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five virus-related deaths. Outbreaks, which are classified as two or more confirmed cases within a 14-day period, have been reported at two senior living and care facilities. Six cases, including a death, have been reported at Sunrise at Flatirons, and at least seven cases have been confirmed at Broomfield Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation, according to the city.

Statewide, there were 12,256 confirmed cases of the virus and 674 virus-related deaths as of Friday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Broomfield has posted list of FAQs regarding the stay-at-home order, and the agenda, memo, and presentation from the meeting also are online.

For more information, resources and to learn more about local support programs including Bridge The Gap for residents who have lost wages due to COVID-19 and Enhance Broomfield to help small businesses weather the storm caused by the coronavirus, visit BroomfieldHealth.org.

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