Gov. Jared Polis announced a fundraising effort to help Coloradans who are losing jobs and access to other resources on Wednesday.
HelpColoradoNow.Org has already raised $2.8 million, the governor said during a Wednesday news conference, with support from the Denver Broncos, Wells Fargo, former DaVita CEO Kent Thiry and others.
The effort also seeks volunteers, also through the HelpColoradoNow.org website. That routes to the state Department of Homeland Security and a volunteer application form that asks for the skills a volunteer can bring. In some cases, the application said, a background check may be required.
Volunteers are needed for health care assistance, child care services and mental health support, the governor said. The state plans to coordinate child care services for frontline responders to the virus on a sliding scale.
There's also a need for blood donations, Polis said. But while blood drives have been canceled, safe protocols are still in place to collect donations at blood centers.
During the Wednesday news conference, Poils addressed questions on why he hasn't ordered the closing of Colorado's schools, as has been done in other states.
He noted school districts that have had positive cases have been closed, and that he would continue to look at actions around school closures.
"It's possible school might return this year, but increasingly unlikely," the governor said. Schools are turning to online learning and he said he wanted to make sure that just because in-person learning is suspended, that doesn't mean all learning is suspended.
The state now has 183 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Polis said.
As to those who are struggling to pay rent, Polis said landlords know what's going on and want to keep good tenants. If those tenants are out of work for a month or two, landlords should "work with them." Polis acknowledged that he is looking at options such as a moratorium on evictions, but he stopped short of endorsing that solution.
Polis referenced the dramatic uptick in applications for unemployment insurance, a result in part from his suspension of most bar and restaurant activity to reduce transmission of the virus. He said the state will add call center employees and understands that the website may be inaccessible at times due to high usage, but assured people that they would not lose eligibility for benefits because they could not access the site.
"I also call on our federal delegation to act immediately to pass relief measures. I strongly support efforts to put $1,000 per month or $2,000 or more in the hands of Coloradans," he said.
Polis also sounded an angry tone over people who are still not taking the virus seriously.
"Be smart, socialize, but socialize virtually" Polis said. "Don't be stupid...don't be dumb and think you're getting away with something if the cops aren't shutting you down."
Polis rolled out #DoingMyPartCO on Monday, a social media effort to share how people are coping with COVID-19 and the need for social distancing or self-quarantines.
Since Monday, lawmakers and the media have been putting out challenges, such as House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette. The hashtag has been shared hundreds of times.