The Colorado Libertarian Party on Thursday canceled its annual convention in response to an order issued by Gov. Jared Polis limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The party, which counts more than 46,000 registered voters in Colorado, is developing "a digital option for conducting necessary party business," state party chairman Victoria Reynolds said in an online post that called the public health order issued late Wednesday "draconian regulations."
State Libertarians had been planning to convene April 3-5 at a Lakewood hotel after moving their annual meeting from Glenwood Springs earlier this week, due to an order by a local health department banning large gatherings.
Polis issued a series of executive orders Wednesday night to further restrict public gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, including extending an order requiring all schools to close through April 17 and keeping downhill ski areas closed through April 6.
The Colorado Department of Public Health issued an order Wednesday prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, in accordance with federal recommendations, Polis said.
Reynolds told Colorado Politics that the party had expected at least 100 people to attend the weekend convention, which featured speakers, panel discussions and a Roaring '20s party.
At the meeting, the Colorado Libertarians are planning to nominate candidates to Colorado's general election ballot and send delegates to the national convention, as well as elect board members and take care of other party business.
Reynolds said in the online post that the government restrictions fly in the face of the party's basic tenants.
"It has long been a cornerstone of Libertarian beliefs that the world works best when people use personal responsibility and exercise their right to freely assemble," she said.
"Not only are political and activist organizations forced to set their work aside when people need them most, but businesses have been forced to close, as well. By shutting down our convention and others like it, the state of Colorado has compounded the economic damage already being done through our society grinding to a halt."