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COVID-19 Pandemic Shelter-in-Place Update with a Colorado & Denver Twist

March 23, 2020

As of our client alert issued just last Thursday afternoon, only a few counties in Northern California and San Miguel County in Colorado had issued shelter-in-place orders.

What a difference a few days makes. As the COVID-19 pandemic and the number of deaths in the U.S. continue to skyrocket upward, by the end of today multiple states (including California, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, and Illinois) will have issued statewide shelter-in-place orders. Inevitably, as the dominoes fall, more states and local jurisdictions will follow throughout this week with similar orders.

Here in Colorado, Governor Polis issued a 50% statewide reduction in force order over the weekend on March 22, 2020, and the same day, CDPHE issued an order implementing the governor’s order. This afternoon, Denver issued a shelter-in-place order for Denver County.

As we noted in our alert last week, employees associated with the 16 categories of critical infrastructure and assets identified in Presidential Policy Directive 21 are typically excluded from these orders, but the orders vary considerably in their terms and require close scrutiny, particularly for businesses that operate across multiple jurisdictions with varying (and potentially no) orders in place. Late last week, CISA issued guidance on what constitutes critical infrastructure to assist states and local governments in developing national consistency.

At DGS, we are busy at work analyzing the impacts of these orders on our clients’ businesses and helping our clients deal with multiple issues arising from these orders and the pandemic generally, including:

  • How do we operate efficiently when the shelter-in-place orders are inconsistent across jurisdictions in which a client operates?
  • What documentation do our clients’ employees need to identify their workforce as critical infrastructure employees?
  • When is a declaration of force majeure justified under the circumstances of a pandemic declaration, disaster declaration, and shelter-in-place order?
  • When does a positive COVID-19 test result constitute an OSHA-recordable injury?

If you need assistance on these or other issues, or simply want a copy of the most recent shelter-in-place orders impacting your operations, please don’t hesitate to contact a DGS partner.