The Denver City Council has once again extended its local disaster emergency declaration, pushing the expiration date back another month.
The disaster declaration, previously set to expire Monday, will now last through June 21. The extension was unanimously approved during the council meeting Monday.
Mayor Michael Hancock first filed the disaster declaration with the Denver Clerk and Recorder on March 12, 2021, one week after the first official cases of COVID-19 were reported in Colorado.
Though COVID-19 rates have been consistently decreasing since the winter, the extension was issued “out of an abundance of caution” and under the recommendation of local and state health officials, according to the resolution filing.
“The occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property resulting from COVID-19 continues to require emergency action and resources to avert danger or damage and to protect public health,” the resolution reads.
Denver, and its neighboring metro counties, lifted the majority of COVID-19 restrictions last week, including all capacity and social distancing limits.
The city also aligned with Gov. Jared Polis's new masking stance, which removes an order and replaces it with a recommendation that the unvaccinated wear masks. Fully vaccinated people can go maskless in nearly all settings.
However, the disaster declaration is still necessary for the city government to continue to receive federal public assistance funds for emergency protective measures related to COVID-19.
Under the disaster declaration, the city also has the ability to expedite procurement for critical services that provide shelter for people in need and purchase protective equipment for Denver’s essential workers, among other time-sensitive needs.
According to state law, local disaster declarations cannot exceed seven days without approval by the City Council.