Weld County is not telling all businesses they can reopen, commissioners say


WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Weld County commissioners, along with the county health department, have issued what they call “Safer at Work” guidelines for when the state’s stay-at-home order ends Sunday.

The best practices include social distancing and cleaning guidelines.

The county released them after Gov. Jared Polis announced he would not extend the state’s stay-at-home order. The rules do not immediately allow restaurants, bars and retail stores to begin allowing customers inside. Instead, he announced relaxed restrictions for the state that will slowly allow other businesses to open and give counties more control.

“We started getting calls from people…’Oh, can we open our businesses?'” said Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. “They wanted Weld County to say their businesses were open. And what we told them is, ‘Weld County is not opening businesses. We did not close businesses.'”

The issue became even more confusing after Commissioner Mike Freeman talked about the county’s guidelines on KFKA radio and criticized how Polis deemed some businesses essential and others non-essential.

“He’s still picking winners and losers of who can open and who can’t,” Freeman said of Polis. “And what we’re saying is, we’re going treat everyone equally and fairly across Weld County.”

Friday, Polis responded to reports that some businesses in Weld County might open and go against the state’s rules. He said the county could lose its COVID-19 emergency funding and businesses could lose their licenses.

“If they in any way think businesses that aren’t meeting the statewide guidance are somehow able to operate…if they’re planning on saying restaurants can open and clubs can open…that would be a great danger to the people of Weld County,” Polis said.

Weld County currently has the third highest number of coronavirus-related deaths and confirmed cases in the state. It is the ninth most populous county in the state.

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