Denver Sets Criteria and Requirements for Business Reopening and Shares Information on Testing and Contact Tracing

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*PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release May 5, 2020

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today announced the city’s plan for re-opening on Saturday, May 9, following the expiration of Denver’s Stay at Home Order. The Mayor also announced the formation of the Denver Economic Relief and Recovery Council to support the city’s recovery efforts with recommendations over the next several weeks and months, as well as sharing information about testing and contact tracing.

“We’re taking a thoughtful and intentional approach to a phased re-opening of Denver businesses in a manner that limits COVID-19 risks for everyone,” said Mayor Hancock. “This does not mean the threat of COVID-19 has passed. These are just the first steps toward recovery along what will be a long journey. Preserving public health and safety remains our No. 1 priority. With these appropriate guardrails in place, we increase the likelihood of a safe transition – if everyone continues to do their part.”

With the expiration of the city’s Stay at Home Order on Friday, May 8, people are encouraged to continue taking precautions to protect their health and the health of others. Beginning Wednesday, May 6, face coverings are mandatory when inside of, or waiting in line to enter, any retail or commercial business or any location or facility offering government or healthcare services, as well as while waiting for or riding public transportation. Additionally, public and private gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be prohibited through May 26.

Beginning Saturday, May 9, the following types of businesses will gradually begin to re-open in Denver with strict social distancing guidelines and precautions to limit the number of employees and customers on site at a given time:

  • Non-critical retail such as clothing, home goods, cell phone (with 50% employees and six-foot social distancing)
  • Personal services such as hair/nail salon, tattoo, pet groomer and personal trainers (with 10 or fewer people in a single location or max of 50% occupancy, whichever is less; by appointment only, no walk-ins; strict requirements about PPE and distancing)
  • Non-critical offices (with 50% employees)
  • Field services such as in-person real-estate showings
  • Limited healthcare (with 10 or fewer people in a single location or max of 50% occupancy, whichever is less; by appointment only, no walk-ins)
  • Post-secondary education

While many businesses can re-open beginning Saturday, May 9, these businesses and facilities will remain closed until further notice:

  • Sit-down service in restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and other places of public accommodation
  • Movie theaters
  • Live-performance theaters
  • Concert venues
  • Sports arenas
  • Gyms (with very limited exceptions)
  • Shopping malls (except for stores that have public entrances/exits to the outside)
  • Outdoor recreation facilities such as children’s playgrounds and tennis and basketball courts
  • City recreation centers and libraries

To limit the spread of COVID-19 in business settings, Denver has established several requirements for the protection of customers and employees.

All businesses must do the following to keep customers safe:

  • Create special hours for vulnerable individuals when practical
  • Limit the number of on-site customers to continuously maintain six-foot distancing
  • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes at entrances to the greatest extent possible
  • Use contactless payment solutions when possible
  • Create signage regarding health protocols

All businesses must do the following to keep employees safe:

  • Deputize a workplace coordinator to address COVID-19 issues
  • Maintain six-foot separation between employees and discourage shared spaces
  • Clean and disinfect all high touch areas
  • Post signage for employees and customer on good hygiene
  • Ensure proper ventilation
  • Avoid meetings or groupings of more than 10 employees, clients or customers
  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols such as temperature checks
  • Eliminate, or regularly clean and disinfect, any items in common spaces
  • Require employees with symptoms to stay home
  • Accommodate employees who are vulnerable individuals
  • Provide flexible options for employees with child or elder-care obligations
  • Provide appropriate PPE, like gloves, masks, or face coverings, if employees are unable to provide their own

Large businesses with more than 50 employees in a single location must:

  • Create signage regarding health protocols
  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols such as temperature checks
  • Close common areas to disallow for gatherings of employees
  • Conduct mandatory cleaning and disinfecting protocols
  • Implement social distance protocols

For additional safety, Denver recommends employers and businesses also follow these suggestions:

  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols such as temperature checks
  • Limit or discourage in-person meetings
  • Discourage use of shared spaces such as breakrooms and meeting rooms
  • Consider using separate entrances and exits, with staff members counting visitors to control the number of guests at one time
  • Install plastic protective shields to provide protection between employees and customers

For more information on navigating the expiration of the Stay at Home order, visit the Safer-at-Home website for details on Public Health Orders and FAQs., or dial 311 in Denver (or 720-913-1311 outside of Denver). You can also email the City Attorney’s Office Response Team by emailing

Denver Economic Relief and Recovery Council

In response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Hancock is establishing a Denver Economic Relief and Recovery Council (ERRC). The ERRC will assist in the relief and recovery of Denver’s economy by coordinating public and private efforts to assist businesses, nonprofits, employers and workers affected by public health actions taken to prevent community spread of the virus.

The ERRC will serve as an advisory group and will provide strategic recommendations to the Mayor and the city’s executive leadership on how to mitigate and prevent further negative economic impacts of COVID-19, as well as accelerate recovery and future growth for Denver’s economy, businesses and workers. This work will include:

  • Assessing economic trends and impacts to inform relief and recovery policies and programs;
  • Providing strategic planning and direction on implementing policy and other recommendations to address COVID-19 related impacts on businesses, workers and nonprofits;
  • Providing guidance on revisiting current policies that may need to be revised to encourage and incentivize future business growth;
  • Providing any recommendations realized during committee meetings and endorsed by participants in a consensus manner.

The ERRC will be chaired by Lori Davis, Managing Partner for Grant Thornton, LLP’s Denver Office. The work of the ERRC will be undertaken by four sub-committees:

  • Construction and Development, co-chaired by Amy Cara, Managing Partner, East West Partners and Mowa Haile, President & Chief Executive Officer, Sky Blue Builders
  • Hospitality, Entertainment and Cultural, co-chaired by Janice Sinden, President & CEO, Denver Center for the
  • Performing Arts and Walter Isenberg, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Sage Hospitality
  • Small and Medium Business, co-chaired by Denise Burgess, President & CEO, Burgess Services, Inc. and Andy Feinstein, CEO & Managing Partner, EXDO Development
  • Large Employers and Anchor Institutions, co-chaired by Raju Patel, Market President, Bank of America and Trini Rodriguez, Managing Director, Public Finance, D.A. Davidson & CO.

Comprised of city leadership, members of City Council and industry subject matter experts, each subcommittee will develop data-informed policy recommendations and strategies that align with CDC guidelines, to respond to and stabilize businesses in their respective industries and return consumer demand to pre-pandemic levels.


Across the city, there are multiple hospitals, state and local labs, and private labs capable of conducting the testing of swabs for COVID-19. Residents can find the location nearest to them by visiting or calling 311.

For those who are unable to access tests on their own due to transportation, mobility, or financial limitations, the city will begin offering mobile testing to homebound individuals through the Wellness Winnie.

Starting Tuesday, May 5, a team in the Wellness Winnie will visit the homes of individuals who sign up for COVID-19 testing through the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. The Wellness Winnie is for people who have been given an order from their doctor to be tested but are truly unable. The team will always include an MD and a medical assistant, as well as support staff for paperwork and driving.

To find out if you qualify for this service, contact 311. They will ask you some questions to ensure you meet the requirements, and then you’ll be scheduled for a visit.

The Wellness Winnie is planned to operate for five to six days per week, during normal business hours.

Contact Tracing and Case Management

Contact tracing, coupled with rigorous testing, can counteract a potential second wave and prevent cases from spiking again. Contact tracing is part of the overall function of case management in public health. There are three main components to case management:

  • Interviews
    • Trained staff interview people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to determine who they may have been in close contact with during the time they were considered to have been infectious.
  • Contact tracing
    • Staff then warn these individuals, or contacts, of their potential exposure as quickly and sensitively as possible. In order to protect patient privacy, contacts are only informed that they may have been exposed to an individual with the infection. They are not told the identity of the person who may have exposed them. They are offered resources and support.
  • Contain
    • People who have had contact with a COVID-19 positive patient are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others, how to monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill. If a contact becomes symptomatic, the local public health department can be contacted to assist them in getting tested. If the contact tests positive for COVID-19, their recent contacts will be traced and informed, too.

It is very important that residents help the health workers by answering the phone. Health workers will not ask any private questions about finances or social security numbers.

For up to date information on the city’s recovery and relief plan and actions, visit