Gov. Jared Polis last week imposed a stay-at-home order for Coloradans due to the coronavirus, but added that outdoor exercise is still allowed as an “essential” activity. He also urged Coloradans to recreate in communities close to where they live.
“Our mountains and our canyons have been here for hundreds of thousands of years, and they’re going to be here for hundreds of thousands of years,” Polis said. “So wait until this blows over to enjoy them.”
Here are answers to some of the questions that have arisen since the order was issued:
Is outdoor exercise allowed under the stay-at-home order?
Not only is it allowed, it is encouraged. The governor has been consistent about that since the beginning of the crisis because of the physical and mental health benefits associated with exercise. He has, however, suggested people cut back on their outdoor exercise and mix in indoor exercise alternatives on occasion. “Stop putting yourself and others at risk,” Polis said. “Of course, maintain your physical fitness, and engage as you need in physical activity. But please, be careful and judicious.”
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If I live in Denver, may I go to the mountains to recreate?
“If you live in a city, you certainly shouldn’t be leaving your city to recreate,” Polis said. “You should use your municipal parks at off-hours. I’ve encouraged municipalities to expand the hours of operation of those parks to further spread it out. It also generally will mean recreating less during this crisis.”
If I live outside of Denver, may I leave my town or county to recreate?
People should recreate near where they live, Polis insisted. While acknowledging that means different things to different people depending on where they live, he strongly discouraged people living in the Front Range from visiting the mountains. “Just because you’re not working, this doesn’t mean it’s vacation,” Polis said. “It’s not the time to drive two or three hours from Denver to mountain communities, many of which are reeling from the crisis. Let me add, that is really dumb, because those communities have a higher rate of infection than where you live. So the last thing you should want to do is drive to your second residence, or a hotel, or a cabin in the mountains.”
Which types of outdoor recreation are allowed?
Individual exercise is OK but participating in group activities is not. Denver Parks have closed basketball and tennis courts. Playgrounds are closed.
Maintaining social distancing and avoiding groups is mandatory. “People shouldn’t be playing in groups,” Polis said. “Basketball, as an example. You can play one on one with a housemate, but not full-team basketball. Frisbee, again, with a housemate, but not Frisbee tag or ultimate (Frisbee). It’s about using common sense to try to engage in the necessary recreation you need, as close to home as possible.”