On April 10, 2020, the state of Colorado was placed under a stay-at-home order promulgated by the Department of Public Health & Environment. That order, which continues through much of the month, requires individuals to remain in their homes whenever possible and to avoid contact with those who reside outside of their residences. In order to fully identify the seriousness of the order, officials included enforcement provisions in it that may penalize individuals for violating its terms.
“Staying home” is not a difficult concept to understand on its face, but the Colorado order includes few exceptions to what may allow a person to leave their place of residence. For example, while a person may leave their home to engage in necessary activities such as buying groceries or seeing doctors, they may not go to the barber to have their hair trimmed. If they work in an industry that is critical to maintaining public health, safety, or infrastructure they may be allowed to go to work; most other workers are required to perform their job functions from home. Necessary activities and critical industries include but are not limited to:
- Shopping for food and consumables;
- Medical and veterinary appointments;
- Outdoor exercise that involves social distancing;
- Necessary medical services;
- Necessary manufacturing and retail; and
- Necessary government services.
The state has given local authorities the autonomy to enforce the order by any means that they deem are required to maintain the safety of their communities. To this end, compliance with the order is mandated and those who violate it may face significant penalties.
One sanction that an order violator may face if they are found to be out of their home for nonessential work or activities is a monetary fine. That fine may reach up to $1,000, a significant sum for many Englewood residents. An additional penalty that may accompany a fine or be imposed on its own is jail time up to one year.
Violations of state-issued orders carry serious consequences that may derail the already stressed lives of individuals who are subject to stay-at-home mandates from the state. As local police and law enforcement entities have been given the power to administer punishments against those who violate the order, individuals should be aware that patrols and increased police presences may occur throughout the duration of the stay-at-home directive. Those who are stopped, cited, or arrested for alleged violations of the stay-at-home order should know that they still have rights and options for addressing the charges that have been brought against them. They may contact their trusted criminal defense attorneys to learn more about what they can do to protect themselves.