Helping businesses statewide respond to the current health crisis

COVID 19: Business Preparedness & Continuity

The Pikes Peak SBDC and Colorado SBDC Network is here to help businesses who have been affected by recent disasters in Colorado including response to the current health crisis. Our consultants and partners including the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) provide services to assist with disaster loan applications, long term planning, insurance navigation, physical and economic loss estimations, business preparedness and more. 

Vaccines & Testing

The White House has announced that Federal contractors have until January 4 to ensure compliance by all employees covered by the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force requirement to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The new effective date is four weeks later than the original December 8 deadline. With the announcement from OSHA regarding its new rule (discussed below), the White House has said the change in date will “make it easy for all employers to comply with the requirements.”

Today, the Department of Labor’s Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the details of a requirement for employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis. The OSHA rule will also require that these employers provide paid-time for employees to get vaccinated, and ensure all unvaccinated workers wear a face mask in the workplace. According to a fact sheet put out by the White House, employers with 100 or more employees will be required to:
  • Get Their Employees Vaccinated by January 4th and Require Unvaccinated Employees to Produce a Negative Test on at Least a Weekly Basis: All covered employers must ensure that their employees have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4th. After that, all covered employers must ensure that any employees who have not received the necessary shots begin producing a verified negative test to their employer on at least a weekly basis, and they must remove from the workplace any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test or is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider. The ETS lays out the wide variety of tests that comply with the standard. Given that vaccines are safe, free, and the most effective way for workers to be protected from COVID-19 transmission at work, the ETS does not require employers to provide or pay for tests. Employers may be required to pay for testing because of other laws or collective bargaining agreements.
  • Pay Employees for the Time it Takes to Get Vaccinated: All covered employers are required to provide paid-time for their employees to get vaccinated and, if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects experienced that keep them from working.
  • Ensure All Unvaccinated Employees are Masked: All covered employers must ensure that unvaccinated employees wear a face mask while in the workplace.
  • Other Requirements and Compliance Date: Employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping that are spelled out in the detailed OSHA materials available here. While the testing requirement for unvaccinated workers will begin after January 4th, employers must be in compliance with all other requirements – such as providing paid-time for employees to get vaccinated and masking for unvaccinated workers – on December 5th.The Administration is calling on all employers to step up and make these changes as quickly as possible.
The White House has provided a transcript of a call it held last night with the press providing background on the new announcements. The Federal Register for the COVID -19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard can be found here. OSHA has also made the following materials available on its website for the ETS:

Funding & Grants

Federal

The 7(a) Loan Program, SBA’s most common loan program, includes financial help for small businesses with special requirements. This is the best option when real estate is part of a business purchase, but it can also be used for:

  • Short and long-term working capital
  • Refinance current business debt
  • Purchase furniture, fixtures, and supplies

The maximum loan amount for a 7(a) loan is $5 million. Key eligibility factors are based on what the business does to receive its income, its credit history, and where the business operates. Your lender will help you figure out which type of loan is best suited for your needs.

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This loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.

  • The deadline for submitting COVID EIDL loan applications is 11:59 PM ET on December 31, 2021. No new loan applications will be accepted after the December 31 deadline.
  • SBA will continue to review loan applications after December 31. Applicants are encouraged to submit their COVID EIDL loan applications as soon as possible.
  • COVID EIDL borrowers can request increases up to their maximum eligible loan amount for up to two years after their loan origination date, or until the funds are exhausted, whichever is soonest.
  • SBA will accept and review reconsideration and appeal requests for COVID EIDL applications if the reconsideration/appeal is received within the timeframes in the regulation—6 months from date of decline for reconsiderations and 30 days from date of reconsideration decline for appeals – unless funding is no longer available.
  • The deadline for submitting Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance applications is 11:59 PM ET on December 31, 2021.
  • Targeted EIDL Advance applications can continue to be processed after December 31, but the deadline for approving Supplemental Targeted Advance applications is December 31. No Supplemental Targeted Advance applications can be processed or approved after December 31.
  • Targeted EIDL Advance Mapping Tool

VISIT WEBSITE →

This program provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19.

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Borrowers may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness.

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The US Chamber of Commerce issued this guide and cheat sheet to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a PPP loan.

The Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork.

EBL loans can only be made by SBA Express Lenders that had a valid Supplemental Loan Guaranty Agreement SBA Express Program (SBA Form 2424) in effect as of the date of the applicable disaster.

Eligible small businesses are those that were located, as of the date of the applicable disaster, in the Primary Counties that have been Presidentially-declared as disaster areas, plus any Contiguous Counties. The small business must have been operational when the declared disaster commenced, and must meet all other 7(a) loan eligibility requirements.

Terms:

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender via SBA’s Lender Match Tool or by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

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State

The Disproportionately Impacted Business Grant provides funding to Colorado businesses that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and did not receive meaningful access to federal loans and grants. Businesses will receive a minimum of $1,500 and a maximum of $10,000. This grant is intended to cover expenses that have not been covered by other federal funding.

The second round of applications will open on November 5 with updated eligibility requirements. We will be hosting 3 webinars to answer questions in English and Spanish.

To be eligible for this grant, your business needs to:

  • have been in existence as of January 1, 2020
  • still be in operation in Colorado
  • have at least one full-time employee, which can be the business owner
  • show at least 10% income loss since March 26, 2020 (compared to the prior year) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • received less than $20,000 in federal loans and grants
  • meet at least one of these criteria:
    • have 5 or fewer employees, including the business owner
    • be a minority-owned business
    • be a business located in an economically distressed area (opportunity zone, enterprise zone, or historically underutilized business zone)
    • have a business owner is located in an economically distressed area (opportunity zone, enterprise zone, or historically underutilized business zone)
    • have a business owner that has low or moderate-income (less than $76,000 per year)
    • have a business owner that has low or moderate personal wealth based on household net worth
    • have a business owner that has had diminished opportunities to access capital or credit

Ineligible businesses include:

  • short-term lodging businesses such as AirBnB rentals
  • non-profit organizations

VISIT WEBSITE →

The Colorado Community Revitalization Grant provides gap funding for projects in creative districts, historic districts, main streets or neighborhood commercial centers. This grant will support creative projects that combine creative industry workforce housing, commercial spaces, performance space, community gathering spaces, child care centers, and retail partnerships for the purpose of economic recovery and diversification by supporting creative sector entrepreneurs, artisans, and community non-profit organizations.

For grant requests over $100,000, the awarded funding amount will not exceed more than 50% of the total costs of the project. Grants will be capped at a maximum of $5 million per project in order to distribute the funds broadly. Projects that are specifically designed for artist live/workspace may be eligible for grants higher than $5 million, not to exceed more than 50% of the total project cost.

Funding amounts will be based on these factors:

  • total project cost
  • other sources of secured permanent funding
  • gap amount needed for the project

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The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) Meeting and Events Incentive provides a 10% cash rebate against eligible hard costs for hosting meetings and events in Colorado that take place on or after July 1, 2021 and on or before December 31, 2022. The minimum rebate is $3,500 and the maximum rebate is $100,000.

The program’s goal is to increase tourism industry recovery by incentivizing meeting and event planners to:

  • book new meetings and events in Colorado rather than in one of our competitor states
  • retain meetings and events where there is a demonstrated likelihood that an event or meeting may be canceled, postponed, or relocated outside of Colorado without support

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The Colorado Revolving Loan Fund provides loans that help small to medium-sized Colorado businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans range from $5,000 to $750,000. These loans are intended to provide startup and working capital that will help create and retain jobs across the state of Colorado.

The maximum interest rate is 10%, and the expected average interest rate of these loans is 4%. Loans may be character-based and may have terms up to 20 years based on the type of loan.

This fund prioritizes socially and economically disadvantaged businesses and non-profits. We will work with community-based organizations to reach people, and extend effort to assist and qualify these types of businesses including using non-traditional underwriting criteria such as character-based lending and providing bi-lingual support where possible.

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The CLIMBER (Colorado Loans to Increase Mainstreet Business Economic Recovery) Loan Fund is a statewide program that will provide up to $250 million in working capital loans to Colorado small businesses through 2023. It will promote small businesses recovery, save jobs, and help support the Colorado economy.

Lenders, CDFIs, credit unions, and nonprofit lenders can participate and provide loans for their small business customers needing financial assistance.

Small businesses with 5-99 employees that were financially stable before the pandemic but now need help to survive may apply for working capital loans between $30,000 and $500,000. Below-market interest rates and a 1-year deferred payment option make the program a secure recovery option for small businesses.

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The Tourism Marketing Matching Grant helps nonprofit organizations, destination marketing organizations, and local city and county governments market themselves to increase traveler spending in Colorado.

To help meet the needs of industry partners, many with reduced budgets due to the pandemic, for fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) applications the maximum grant amount has been raised to $40,000 while the required match has been lowered to 50%. Your request needs to have a funding ratio of 1-to-2 non-grant funding to grant funding. For example, if you request a grant of $40,000, you need to have at least $20,000 in other funding.

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The Rural Jump-Start Program helps economically distressed communities attract new businesses and jobs. Counties, municipalities, and higher education institutions work together to apply for this program.

When a community is a designated rural jump-start zone, new businesses can receive incentive payments and tax relief including credits, exemptions, and refunds from:

  • state income tax
  • state sales and use tax
  • county and municipal personal property taxes

Employees of new businesses receive a grant for starting a new business and a tax credit for 100% of state income taxes on their wages for work in the rural jump-start zone.

The Rural Jump-Start Program began in January 2016 and will accept applications through December 31, 2025.

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The Colorado Arts Relief Fund provides $15.5 million for the second round of funding to support arts, cultural and entertainment artists, crew members, and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program previously provided $7.5 million in early 2021 in its first round of funding.

Funding through this bill will be distributed through two separate grant applications:

  • Colorado Arts Relief—Business and Organization FY22
  • Colorado Arts Relief—Individuals FY22

This funding initiative was passed by the State of Colorado legislature and created in Section 1-24-48.5-116, enacted by HB21-1285.

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The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is hosing an extensive list of different funding options for small businesses.

VISIT →

Pikes Peak Region

The 2021 Business Impact Assistance Program is open to the following:

  • For profit brick and mortar businesses
  • Nonprofit organizations within the City of Fountain
  • Home-based businesses (network/direct marketing businesses not eligible)
  • Mobile/trailer businesses
  • Commercial landlords
  • Professionals that rent “booth” space from an established business location

To apply you must fill out the application that is applicable to your business, and submit all required documentation (listed within application). Incomplete applications can not be evaluated. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. The first application review will be Friday, November 19, 2021.

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To be eligible, you must be either a:

  • Small business or enterprise
  • Colorado sole proprietors and registered small businesses including LLCs, S-Corps and other business types
  • Small Non-Profit Business – 501c3 nonprofit businesses only

You must also:

  • Have fewer than 500 full and part-time employees.
  • Have experienced economic harm that was caused or made worse by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Applicants must clearly describe the harm experienced. Additional documentation may be required to validate the described harm. Use funds, if awarded, to respond to the described harm. The intended use must not have been covered with other COVID-19 relief funds. Please note that past Regional Business Relief Fund recipients ARE eligible to participate in Round 2.

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The Emergency Relief Fund for Non-Profits in El Paso and Teller County has been activated. Visit this site for more information.

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COVID-19 RESOURCES

Pikes Peak Region

Since August of 1980, Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado has helped consumers find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust serving 25 counties throughout Southern Colorado. COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting people, businesses and communities around the world. Better Business Bureau reminds everyone to remain vigilant to avoid scams related to the virus, use necessary, common sense precautions when traveling, and find reliable sources to stay informed about what to do as the virus spreads. 

VISIT BBB WEBSITE →

The BBB recently published its 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, focused on the rise of online scams during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT →

The City of Colorado Springs will continue to provide essential government services while also implementing select modified operations to comply with orders and public health recommendations related to COVID-19. Those temporary changes are detailed on this site.

VISIT WEBSITE →

Colorado Springs Planning and Community Development Department is accepting applications for temporary use and revocable permits to expand dining areas to the following areas o The City Clerk’s office, in compliance with the Colorado State Liquor License Enforcement Division recent rule change, is implementing an expedited local process for the restaurant to modify their liquor licensed premises to temporarily serve alcohol in an expanded dining service area.

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The Colorado Springs & EDC has advocacy, informational, and technical economic development services for the Pikes Peak Region business community. The Chamber & EDC has information on state and local resources and is coordinating efforts with community partners to bring relief to businesses and recovery plans for business re-entry and long-term recovery.

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Downtown Colorado Springs shops and restaurants are taking extensive, diligent measures to provide a clean, safe and welcoming environment for customers. Downtown businesses remain open, and continue to provide a positive, safe and welcoming experience. Visit this site for #shoplocal ideas to support your downtown businesses and ALL businesses in the Pikes Peak Region.

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The El Paso County Public Health department is keeping the public up to date on the latest via their website. Stay informed as small business owner and help stop the spread of rumors to reduce anxiety!

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A list of businesses, that are open, closed, by appointment and open for delivery or pickup.

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The Emergency Relief Fund for Non-Profits in El Paso and Teller County has been activated. Visit this site for more information.

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The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is keeping tabs on any local, state, and federal resources to assist small businesses and their employees if they see themselves out of a job or without pay due to business economic loss or a quarantine. It’s a good time to utilize the workforce center for any upskilling of your current employees to other job duties as necessary. Contact the Business Relations Group at 719.667.3814 or BRG@elpasoco.com

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The Pikes Peak SBDC provides a team of experts to provide free business consulting in financials, business continuity plans, marketing, legal, HR and numerous areas of support for your emergency plans.

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COVID-19: Resources and Travel Recommendations

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General

Colorado Small Business Navigator & COVID-19 Small Business Hotline
The Small Business Navigator is the first point of contact for new and existing business owners with questions about federal, state and local licensing requirements. The navigator also provides referrals to a variety of state and federal assistance programs and local small business training. In addition, the navigator maintains a comprehensive database of federal, state and local regulatory and permitting requirements. SMALL BUSINESS COVID-19 DISASTER RESPONSE HOTLINE: 303-860-5881 ((OPEN MONDAY-FRIDAY 8AM-5PM))

Colorado SBDC COVID-19 Disaster Response Webinars
The Colorado SBDC Networking is regularly hosting webinars to guide you through the COVID-19 emergency response and preparedness.

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE)
Visit this website for the latest information for employers and workers. Website links include information on paid sick leave for COVID-19, workplace preparedness, information from the Division of Federal Employees Compensation (DFEC) and more.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is a great resource to keep up on the latest throughout the state of Colorado.

Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
The resources at choosecolorado.com provide state and federal COVID-19 announcements, programs, and information relevant to Colorado businesses, including resources specific to:

Colorado Housing Financial Assistance Programs
Here is a list of resources that are generally available to Colorado tenants who may be struggling to pay some of their rent amid Coronavirus. The organizations are broken down by state, state nonprofit, county and city resources. The organizations in the list below are not affiliated with the Colorado Apartment Association or any of its subsidiaries.

Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance
The Colorado Legislature and Governor Polis have passed Senate Bill 20B-002 authorizing an additional $54 million in housing assistance for people economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Critical Business Certification Form
Executive Order D 2020 017 “Ordering Coloradans To Stay at Home Due to the Presence of COVID-19 in the State,” and the corresponding Public Health Order 20-24 Amended Public Health Order 20-24 Implementing Stay at Home Requirements (PHO 20-24) exempt critical businesses. Please see PHO 20- 24 for the complete and current list of authorized businesses that are exempt.

Colorado Proud
Now is the moment for us to come together to support our state and buy local food, groceries and goods. Colorado Proud has put together the following list of Colorado farmers, ranchers, retailers, chefs, restaurants, and food and beverage manufacturers providing food, products and services direct to consumers.

Startup Colorado
There’s a ton of information coming your way as a small business owner, and the information you just read will most likely change tomorrow. Trust us, we get it, and we’re here to help. Every Friday, you can access the latest information and resources directly from the top, in one 60-minute call, on a consistent weekly basis. Calls are organized by region so that you can get the latest information relevant to your business and area of operation.

Colorado Resources for Non-Profits
Philanthropy Colorado has been working to connect funders across the state and ensure the sector has the most up-to-date information about nonprofit needs, relief funds and resources.

Manufacturer’s Edge

Colorado Covid Legal Relief
Apply for free legal help and advice.

USDA COVID-19 Response Resources
USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.

US Department of the Treasury
If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, tax, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Response Toolkit
The U.S. Chamber has compiled CDC’s coronavirus recommendations for businesses and workers across the country. We continue to encourage American businesses to follow data-based guidance from the CDC and state and local officials.

U.S. Customs and Border Protections Trade Updates
U.S. CBP has created this webpage for updates, information and impacts on trade due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Export Import Bank of the United States Resources
EXIM is committed to fully supporting the U.S. exporting community during this crisis. This page will be updated with any information about EXIM’s response activities.

Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents
On March 27, 2020, the president signed the CARES Act into law, which, among other things, provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers.

USDA Federal Rural Resource Guide
USDA and its Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

U.S. Department of Labor – Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers
Click here for the latest on the Families First Act Q&A.

If your business is facing eviction, reach out to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) for assistance. If you need legal support, the Justice Center is offering free legal aid for businesses affected by COVID-19 on Wednesday nights.

Business interruption insurance normally covers the replacement of lost income when operations are halted during a natural disaster such as a fire. It covers operating expenses, a move to a temporary location, payroll, taxes and loan payments. The Coronavirus pandemic is uncharted territory and until we know more about what insurances companies should cover, here are some steps to advocate for yourself:

  1. Ask your agent to file a claim with the carrier even if they tell you that your business is not covered.
  2. When you receive the declination document, write a letter to the carrier and tell them why you are disputing the declination (be specific)
  3. If declined again, connect with an independent insurance specialist and see if the next step should be to file a request for help with the Colorado Division of Insurance.

Resiliency Guide & Materials
America’s SBDC, Grow with Google and the Washington SBDC Network teamed together to bring small businesses across the country a Small Business Resiliency Guide. The materials cover identifying your critical resources, planning to use alternative resources, responding with your plan, bringing your business back to normal and more. Discover Google tools that can help you work and manage your business during this time of uncertainty and get insights on more online and timely resources for small businesses.

Template: Emergency Procedures Document

Template: Business Resiliency Plan

Business Resiliency Webinar

Spanish

SBA Updates

Current Guidelines

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a third amended Public Health Order (PHO) 20-38 which applies to El Paso County communities. These new changes are effective Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

The state-modified PHO 20-38 includes three major changes:

  1. All indoor mass gathering capacity restrictions are removed;
  2. Face coverings remain mandatory in the following settings listed below; however, the age threshold for this requirement is now 12 years of age and older (previously 11 years of age and older). Where face coverings are required (schools, daycare, camps), children under age 12 are not required to wear face coverings; and
  3. Revised face covering requirements only apply to unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals in the following settings listed below.

Face Covering Requirements

Face coverings are required for certain individuals, ages twelve (12) and older, in the following settings:

  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated students, staff, and visitors to preschool through grade 12 schools (including extracurricular activities) and child care centers and services, including camps, except while participating in outdoor activities;
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff of Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle offices;
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated residents, staff and visitors to prisons or jails;
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated patients, visitors, and personnel in emergency medical and other healthcare settings (including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, urgent care centers, clinics, doctors’ offices, and non-urgent care medical structures as stated in PHO 20-38).

Schools and Child Care

Schools and child care are required to work with their local public health agencies as COVID-19 cases occur, and follow the CDPHE guidance for Cases and Outbreaks in Schools and Child Care.

Exceptions to the face covering requirements remain for individuals 11 years of age or younger; individuals who cannot medically tolerate a face covering; and under certain activities as outlined in Section 1.A.2.c.

In an effort to provide economic relief to local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the El Paso County Board of Health voted unanimously at its meeting this morning to waive 2021 license fees for full-service retail food establishments (RFE), bars, and taverns in El Paso County.

READ PRESS RELEASE →

Some local liquor licensing fees for establishments in unincorporated El Paso County will be waived starting retroactive to December 7, 2020 through December 7, 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19. The Board of County Commissioners which serves as the Local Licensing Authority approved a Resolution 21-33 at yesterday’s meeting authorizing the waiver of specific fees for new and renewal licenses, according to the fee schedule.

READ PRESS RELEASE →

Alerts

Resource Videos & Webinars

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