Headlines May 19, 2020

Headlines May 19, 2020

 

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The City of Denver has launched a temporary program that would give bars and restaurants the option to expand into outdoor settings. The Denverite reports that the move would allow dine-in services that accommodate physical distancing guidelines that are in place due to COVID-19.

While final rules are still in the development phase, the program would allow some businesses to expand into outdoor areas like parking lots adjacent to restaurants as well as sidewalks.

The City of Denver has created a website which lists eligible businesses and eligible outdoor spaces.

Amongst the eligible businesses listed are restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, coffee shops and bars.

On Monday Governor Jared Polis reiterated that he plans to announce on May 25 guidance for the re-opening of restaurants statewide, but he advised cities to start developing plans for opening up sidewalks and streets to allow people to eat at restaurants this summer in a socially-distanced manner.

More than 70,000 Coloradans who filed for unemployment assistance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have had their private information shared with non-authorized people.

The Denver Post reports that  72,000 people who signed up for pandemic unemployment assistance in Colorado are now eligible for a year of free credit monitoring after a system error gave six people approved for benefits access to everyone else’s private information.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released a statement, saying the situation was a “limited and intermittent data access issue.” State officials insist it was not a data breach.

Social Security numbers may have been part of what was exposed a spokesperson told the Denver Post in an email Monday.

Boulder County Farmers market announced yesterday that there would be a partial reopening of in-person shopping starting this Saturday.

The Daily Camera reports that the reopening will be staggered and limited. It will start this weekend in Boulder and the following weekend in Longmont, and in June for Denver.

The markets will look different from previous years due to social distancing requirements. There won’t be musical performances or in-person dining.

Shoppers will need to make a reservation for pre-approved 20-minute shopping windows weekly, with limited opportunities for walk-up customers.

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the food system. Brian Coppom, the Executive Director of the Boulder County Farmers Market says that the pandemic has been difficult for local farmers, but he said, there are some bright spots.

“People are recognizing the value of a local food system, not in the way that we have to eat 100% locally, but understanding that actually having access to food in your area is an important thing when it comes to resilience,” says Coppom.

You can make reservations for in-person shopping at bcfm.org.

 

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Governor Jared Polis said on Monday that anyone in the state who has coronavirus symptoms can get tested.

Polis said that when there weren’t enough tests in Colorado, the original message from state officials was that if people were sick, whether it was COVID-19 or not, they should self-isolate at home.

“That can still be your choice,” said Polis “but we are now encouraging you to get tested to see if it is COVID if you have flu-like symptoms.”

Polis said that there isn’t as much flu now in Colorado due to social distancing, which means that if you have flu-like symptoms there’s a higher chance that you could have COVID-19.

Polis said that testing is free whether a person has insurance or not. There is no copay or out-of-pocket fee, regardless of the type of health insurance someone may have.

Boulder County Farmers market announced yesterday that there would be a partial reopening of in-person shopping starting this Saturday.

The Daily Camera reports that the reopening will be staggered and limited. It will start this weekend in Boulder and the following weekend in Longmont, and in June for Denver.

The markets will look different from previous years due to social distancing requirements. There won’t be musical performances or in-person dining.

Shoppers will need to make a reservation for pre-approved 20-minute shopping windows weekly, with limited opportunities for walk-up customers.

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the food system. Brian Coppom, the Executive Director of the Boulder County Farmers Market says that the pandemic has been difficult for local farmers, but he said, there are some bright spots.

“People are recognizing the value of a local food system, not in the way that we have to eat 100% locally, but understanding that actually having access to food in your area is an important thing when it comes to resilience,” says Coppom.

You can make reservations for in-person shopping at bcfm.org.

The Board of Regents at the University of Colorado is expected to discuss the firing of Detlev Helmig at their meeting today.

Dr. Helmig was an Associate Research Professor and Research Scientist at the Institute of Alpine and Arctic Research (INSTAAR) at CU who is conducting air quality research in communities around the Front Range. He was fired this spring by the university. CU initially said that Dr. Helmig was fired for not separating his university work from that of research being done through his private company. Dr. Helmig’s attorney Joe Salazar told KGNU that the university has known for at least two years that Helmig has his own company and were okay with that.

“All the paperwork was filed correctly to advise the university that he has his own venture. In fact, many of the professors at the University of Colorado have their own ventures, and even CU’s policy encourages professors to have their own ventures, their own businesses, and to engage with community and things of that nature,” says Salazar.

Dr. Helmig’s firing has prompted a huge outcry from environmental advocacy groups and local elected officials. Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones and Steve Fenberg, the Colorado Senate majority leader wrote a guest opinion in the Daily Camera saying that they stand by Dr. Helmig and his work, and hope that his critical research into our region’s air quality challenges can continue.

The CU Board of Regents meeting begins this morning at 8.30

A lawsuit was filed in Denver District Court on Monday after Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order over the weekend to suspend certain requirements that would affect signature collection for ballot issues.

The lawsuit was filed by the group Colorado Concern who says the order would remove vital safeguards that guarantees signatures would be gathered transparently in front of a third person. They added that the governor does not have the power to unilaterally change the state’s constitutional protections around the signature gathering process.

The governor’s executive order would authorize the secretary of state to create temporary rules to allow signatures for ballot issues to be collected by mail or email.

The Denver Post reports that the executive order comes after ballot organizers advocated for changes because of limitations on public activities during the coronavirus pandemic could make it difficult to collect enough in-person signatures to get their issues on the November ballot.