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Governor Polis Issues an Executive Order Ordering Individuals in Colorado to Wear Non-Medical Face Coverings

Mandatory Mask Order went in effect today for 30 days in Colorado Signed by Governor Polis.

Read the document >>

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State to Move Jefferson County to Level Orange in the Dial

New Restrictions will go into effect Monday, Nov. 9th at 5:00 p.m.

 

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) was notified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that the county will be moved to Level Orange, formerly Level 3, in the Dial Framework, effective Monday, Nov. 9 at 5:00 p.m. MT.

Despite the county implementing a comprehensive mitigation plan, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate in Jefferson County — three key indicators for how the virus is spreading in a community — have all continued to increase at an alarming pace. In the past two weeks, there have been 2,513 total cases of the virus in Jefferson County, or 431.0 per 100,000 residents (10/20-11/2). Over this same time period, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have also increased across the region by more than 75 percent. Additionally, Jefferson County’s two-week average test positivity rate is 7.7 percent.

“We were hoping we could avoid these new restrictions, but unfortunately cases have continued to increase in Jeffco and across the state. At the same time, we recognize that this has been such a long event, and we are all experiencing different levels of exhaustion,” said Dr. Margaret Huffman, director of Community Health Services at JCPH. “It’s important to remember all the reasons we have been working so hard to keep ourselves, loved ones and community healthy. Whether it’s to be able to enjoy celebrations together sooner, to protect our healthcare workers who are coping with burnout, or to help keep our schools and favorite businesses open, we have so many reasons to pull together to save lives.”

Here’s what everyone can do to help protect our community’s health, safety and economy:

  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others. Remember that wearing a mask has been proven to greatly reduce the spread of the virus between individuals. Some early research has indicated that if you do contract the virus, masks could help reduce the dose, or how much of the virus is spread, which could lower the severity of the illness.
  • Watch your distance. Keep 6 feet or more apart and avoid gatherings with people who do not live with you.
  • Wash your hands often. Scrub for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. When using hand sanitizer, make sure to choose a product with 60% or higher alcohol content.
  • Get tested and stay home if you’re sick. There are many free testing sites around Jeffco.
  • Be kind to your neighbors. Check in on one another and support your friends and loved ones, especially those who live alone or are homebound.
  • Support local businesses. Keep them open by slowing the spread. You can also show your support by ordering takeout or delivery from your favorite restaurant, keeping memberships when possible or purchasing a gift card to a local retailer this holiday season.

“Even some small changes, like staying home two or three more times a week, can go a long way,” Huffman said. “Just know that your individual steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 matter and protect those around you. If you look at the last nine months and all your hard work, they likely already have.”

JCPH’s Public Health Order 20-009 will remain in effect at least until the county officially transitions to Level Orange, and then may be modified or rescinded based on these new changes.

For more information about CDPHE’s Dial Framework, including guidance for the community and businesses under Level Orange, please visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial. You can also refer to CDPHE’s Dial Public Health Order (PHO 20-36) for more details on Level Orange requirements.

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A letter to Local Business Owners

City of Wheat Ridge logo

Click to Download:

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Dear Business Owner,

Over the past few months, we have experienced an extraordinary response by our community and our businesses to reduce the risks of the pandemic. You have found creative ways to expand your business into outdoor space and controlled the number of customers you serve indoors while also managing local and state mandates regarding the wearing of face masks.

Despite all of our combined efforts; however, the number of cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise across the state and throughout Jefferson County. With the recent extension of the mask order by Governor Polis we all hoped to see the number of cases across the state decline. However, the increase in cases and those hospitalized with COVID has resulted in our moving to Level Orange on the state’s Safer at Home dial. This means now more than ever, our community needs to continue to stay focused on hand washing, social distancing, and the wearing of face masks in order to not only control the spread of the virus but enable businesses to stay open and continue providing goods and services within the current guidelines. The City of Wheat Ridge is dedicated to doing what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by supporting Together We Go Forward, a new campaign introduced by Jefferson County Public Health Department. The new campaign is designed to create a sense of urgency about the current increase in the spread of the Coronavirus reminding us all to reduce gatherings to less than 10, socially distance, wear our face masks, and wash our hands often.

To assist our local businesses as part of that effort, we are providing signage in Spanish and English about the importance of wearing face masks and maintaining social distance when entering a business. We have also included a poster that details how employees can help maintain a safe, clean work environment as well as one detailing the Together We Go Forward campaign with reminders about what we can all do to impact the increase in cases of the virus. In addition, the City is again providing a limited supply of disposable masks for your employees to hand to customers who may arrive without one. To request face masks, go online www.ci.wheatridge.co.us/BizMaskRequestForm These surgical-type masks are not certified as N95 masks; however, they do provide good filtration and fluid protection proven to decrease the spread of the virus.

Please continue to visit https://bit.ly/WRBizContinuity for business resources and updates. For questions, contact Steve Art at 720-454-9040 or sart@ci.wheatridge.co.us.

We appreciate all you are doing to address the risks of COVID-19 in your business and thank you for your resiliency as Together We Go Forward.

Please stay well,

Patrick Goff, City Manager
Steve Art, Economic Development Manager

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Grant Opportunities – Can Do Colorado Community Challenge

The Can Do Community Challenge, an extension of the Can Do Colorado campaign that is spotlighting innovative businesses finding ways to keep going through the COVID-19 response, is asking local communities and their resident businesses to find new opportunities to restart commerce in ways that are safe and sustainable.

Can Do Colorado

  • The Revitalizing Main Streets program was developed to support infrastructure projects that provide open spaces for mobility, community activities and economic development in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency. These quick-win activities will improve safety and create new community spaces to encourage healthy activity and mobility in Colorado’s towns and cities.
  • CDOT’s streetscape challenge will offer small-scale grants that support creative uses of public infrastructure in both cities and small towns across the state. Expenses incurred before contract execution are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • The CanDo Community Telework Program was developed to support communities in the creation of innovative Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs and tools that draw from the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and past TDM work. Leveraging these lessons, the program intends to promote innovative tools that encourage practices – such as social distancing and teleworking – that can be further integrated into basic work practices and standards on a statewide level.

More info >>

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Help for Your Uninsured Employees

With the global pandemic, small business owners and non-profit directors are looking for all the ways they can care for their employees. Open Enrollment for health insurance is November 1- January 15. Connect for Health Colorado can connect your employees to coverage. Our certified brokers provide your employees with free information on financial help available and plan options. These certified brokers will also review solutions such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Small Group Plans, and stipends with you at no cost.

Visit Now >>

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Shop Small – Small Business Saturday November 28

Small businesses are counting on all of us – let’s show them how much they mean to our communities. Small Business Saturday continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition — just one part of the larger Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere.

Small Business Saturday is November 28th this year, but continue to shop local throughout the season.

Take a look at the businesses and organizations participating! You can also see how much spending locally has an impact on the community.

Find our Local Small Businesses at:

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Personal Protective Equipment Program for Small and Micro Businesses and Nonprofits

Jefferson County, the Arvada Chamber, West Metro Chamber, Golden Chamber, and Evergreen Chamber are supporting small businesses of 25 employees or less and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) free of charge to those that qualify.

Eligibility:

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Proposition 118: Paid family and medical leave passes

Coloradans supported the measure with 83% of the votes counted on Tuesday, November 3rd by a margin of 57%-43%

The program is funded though a 0.9% tax on an employee’s annual pay. Both the employer and employee will split the fee that will go into a $1.3 billion fund. This tax will start in 2023. In 2024, the maximum weekly benefit is estimated to be $1,100. Lower-wage workers would get up to 90 percent of their wages covered, while higher-wage workers would get a smaller portion replaced.

Under the paid family medical leave program, employers will provide 12 weeks of annual leave for workers who are caring for newborns, or dealing with health issues of both themselves and family members. In addition, the leave will also cover employees who are escaping domestic violence.

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Winter Outdoor Grant Program Application Process for Restaurants Is Now Open

Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, and Xcel Energy, announced that applications are open for the  Winter Outdoor Grant Program, which will provide funds to restaurants to winterize patio  space for outdoor dining. In mid-October, Gov. Polis was joined by CRA and restaurateurs  to discuss ways to support local restaurants during the pandemic.

“The restaurant industry is critical to the economic health of the State of Colorado, and it’s vital to the well-being of our local communities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We need to continue to support our restaurants, even as we work to contain the virus and reduce transmission. This innovative program offers funding and inspiration to make outdoor dining plausible through the cold months. It will give restaurants means to keep their doors open, to keep their staff employed, and to continue to safely serve our communities. I hope the public join me in supporting restaurants this winter, perhaps by experiencing these unique winter outdoor dining concepts, or by dining out or ordering takeout or delivery.”

The Winter Outdoor Grant Program is made possible by a seed commitment from Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy, which made a $500,000 contribution to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season. In addition to this donation, they are also committing to matching donations of $50,000, up to an additional $250,000, for every $500,000 that’s raised for the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation. That’s a possible total contribution of $750,000 from the Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy. This is one of the single largest gifts the company has made in their history.

Grant funds can be used toward design, construction, applicable fees and supplies like tents, heaters, etc. Grants will be distributed through the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.

The program developed feasible ideas for how all restaurants could effectively create and adapt to additional dining via the Outdoor Winter Design Workshop held on October 19. This event brought together the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado, the American Institute of Architects Colorado, the Associated General Contractors of Colorado, other design and construction professionals, public health officials, representatives from local fire departments, building officials, restaurateurs, and more. Teams were assigned a specific outdoor space type (e.g. rooftop, parking lot, adjacent park) and geography (e.g. urban, mountain resort). They were asked to consider safety, cost, permitting, regulations, ease of implementation, and the comfort of the guest as they created their concepts. The final conceptual plans are now available at COOutdoorDining.org.

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Temporary Outdoor Business Operations & Interior Modifications

Revised May 20, 2020

As of May 9, 2020, the City of Wheat Ridge is following the Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) Safer-at-Home order.  Under this order, some businesses may reopen following specific State and County guidance.  JCPH has issued FAQs that direct businesses to coordinate with the City, specifically pertaining to outdoor operations and interior modifications; this document provides guidance on those two topics. 

The City acknowledges that businesses may want or need to expand into outside space.  This guidance summarizes temporary relief being offered through December 31, 2020 by Wheat Ridge Executive Order 2020-3.  In short:

  • Outdoor space is permitted for business operations on private property;
  • In most cases, permits are not required; and
  • The City’s review of liquor license premises modifications will be processed administratively.

Note: This guidance and the relief offered by Executive Order 2020-3 are subject to change.  These guidelines may be used in preparation for reopening but in no way allow business operations which are not otherwise authorized by the State and County.  Reopening of bars and restaurants for on-premise dining (inside or outside) will be determined by the State and County; use this guidance in conjunction with State and County rules.  

Outdoor Operations:

  • Temporary tents are permitted on private property:
    • Tents must be weighted down; 40lbs per leg for 10×10 tents and more for larger tents.
    • Tents must be open on at least three sides during business hours.
    • Any activity within a tent must comply with social distancing requirements.
    • Any single tent larger than 400 square feet requires a building permit from the City.
    • Permits may be required by the Fire District depending on the configuration:
      • No permit is needed if the tent is 400 square feet or less.
      • No permit is needed if the tent is 700 square feet or less AND is open on all four sides AND is 12 feet from another structure or tent. In this scenario, the size is measured as either a single tent or the aggregate size of multiple tents placed side by side.
      • In all other scenarios, a permit from the Fire District is required.
    • If a business chooses to erect tents, there is no maximum on the size or number of tents so long as it does not exceed the square footage of the building.
  • Temporary outdoor space is permitted on private property, for patios, dining, retail, or service:
    • Outdoor business functions may occur on hard surface areas, including but not limited to parking spaces or other paved areas.
    • Outdoor business functions may occur in grass/turf areas, but not in rock, mulch, or planting beds.
    • Outdoor business functions may not occur in the right-of-way or on City-owned property except that public sidewalks or property may be used as a path of travel between the indoor and outdoor business operations.
    • Businesses should obtain property owner permission for any modification or use of outdoor space.
    • The area of the outdoor business function should not exceed the area of the indoor business. For example, if a business has 1,000 square feet inside, they may have up to 1,000 square feet outside.
    • Outdoor space must be demarcated if it has been included in a liquor license premises; see below.
    • Vehicle parking spaces may be repurposed for bicycle parking.
  • Use of public property or right-of-way for outdoor operations may be considered on a case-by-case basis, particularly where alternatives are limited. Contact the Engineering Division at 303-235-2861.
  • Building permits are required if permanent electrical is installed outside.
  • The City acknowledges and encourages businesses to accommodate curbside pickup of food and retail purchases. Note that curbside delivery of alcohol is temporarily allowed by the State’s emergency regulation 47-1101.
  • Outdoor display is already permitted by code within 10 feet of the front door (Section 26-631) and does not expire on December 31.
  • PLEASE BE SMART! For all outdoor activity, don’t block sidewalks, ADA parking, drive aisles, emergency access, sight distance, or right-of-way; and don’t create tripping hazards (eg with extension cords). Follow manufacturer guidelines for any temporary improvements, such as tents or portable heaters.

Liquor Licenses:

  • For businesses with an active liquor license, an outdoor area may be temporarily added to the licensed premises on private property:
    • A premises modification application must include the DR8442 form, property owner permission, a diagram of the existing premises, and a diagram of the proposed premises. Applications may be submitted electronically to cityclerk@ci.wheatridge.co.us.
    • If City-owned property (such as sidewalks) separate the indoor and outdoor premises, licensees must attest that liquor will not be consumed on the sidewalk or City-owned property. Additionally, the premises modification shall include either an endorsement on the relevant commercial liability policy naming the City as an additional insured, or an indemnification in a form approved by the City Attorney.
    • Outdoor premises should be clearly marked by temporary access control (for example, by stanchion, rope, hay bale, planter, and/or paint). Signs must indicate “no alcohol past this point.”
    • Wheat Ridge Executive Order 2020-3 waives the City’s $75 administration fee and allows for administrative approval by waiving the need for a hearing at the Liquor License Authority.
    • Subsequent to City review, the State Liquor Enforcement Division (LED) will review the application. LED Bulletin 20-07 reduces the application fee to $150 and allows for electronic payment and submittal. Licensees may not operate in temporary outdoor areas until approval is received.
    • After the modified premises is approved by the City and State, upon request, the City will send reimbursement for the $150 State application fee.
  • Curbside delivery of alcohol is temporarily allowed by the State’s emergency regulation 47-1101.

Indoor Modifications:

  • No building permit is required for installation of Plexiglas barriers, such as at checkout counters.
  • Refer to City regulations to learn when building permits apply. Generally, cosmetic changes do not require permits, but new construction, additions or alterations do need permits, including for permanent awnings, electrical changes, moving walls, demolition, and interior remodel; see below.

Resources:

Office of the City Manager City of Wheat Ridge, Colorado Order 2020-3