Gov. Jared Polis has extended the declaration of a disaster emergency for Colorado for another 30 days.
His latest executive order states that his administration, along with other state, local and federal authorities, has "taken a wide array of actions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, prevent further spread, and protect against overwhelming our health care resources."
While the state has made progress, the order states, "we must continue taking aggressive action to minimize the duration of this epidemic and of the disruption to our daily lives."
The order expires 30 days from May 7.
Polis issued the first disaster declaration verbally on March 10 and in writing the following day. He also asked President Trump to declare Colorado a disaster area, which was granted March 28.
The state's disaster emergency declaration allows Polis constitutional authority to tap into the TABOR emergency reserve and other state funds to cover costs related to the pandemic. To date, the state has spent $92 million, with $88 million in the disaster emergency fund for pandemic response activities. Another $3 million was sent to the Department of Local Affairs to assist low-income households with rent and mortgage assistance. And $1 million went to the Department of Labor and Employment to help the department with its unemployment insurance system and services.
According to a March 10 memo from the General Assembly's legal services staff, the governor's authority in a declared emergency includes the ability to suspend statutes that could interfere with an agency's ability to cope with the emergency, transfer personnel or functions of state department when necessary to facilitate emergency services, use "all available resources of the state government" and political subdivisions of the state to respond to the emergency, suspend alcohol and firearms sales and provide for temporary emergency housing. Polis has not taken advantage of those provisions. The governor also has the authority to tap emergency funds to provide financial assistance of up to $5,000 to individuals and families to deal with disaster-related expenses.
Polis will provide an update on the state's response to the pandemic at 1 p.m. Friday.