Gov. Jared Polis’ order for Coloradans to stay at home isn’t sitting well with some people.
Up until that order was issued on Wednesday, many leading Republicans in the state had been praising him for many of his actions, agreeing they were necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
But when the Democratic governor told everyone except the most essential workers to shelter in their homes, many of those same Republicans have turned on him.
Some, including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker, have questioned the legal ability of governments and health departments to issue such orders.
Under the Colorado Disaster Emergency Act, which Polis declared earlier this month, he does have the ability to control “the movements of persons” within a disaster area, which in this case is the entire state.
As a result, other lawmakers said that while they don’t like it, they will abide by it.
“I am not happy with this order,” Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, said in an email to constituents. “It is a shotgun approach to a surgical problem. But I do think that public gatherings needed to be curtailed again since data was not clear on the potential spread. We are rural Colorado and our circumstances are much different than Denver, and I’m advocating with the governor to use a measured approach going forward.”
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who is fresh off his two-week self-imposed isolation after being in close proximity to someone who was infected, stopped short of condemning the order, saying the nation needs to take this whole thing very seriously and follow the advice of medical experts.
“We’ve got to do this out of not fear or because we’re afraid of the virus, but because of love for our neighbors, our moms and dads,” the Republican senator said. “I’ve got a dad who’s 70-plus years old who was a smoker his whole life, and I’m very worried about him. But it’s out of love I’m not letting the kids go over to his house. It’s hard, but we’re going to get through this.”
Gardner said he expected the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bills that the U.S. Senate approved this week will help alleviate people’s fears of losing their jobs and the ability to buy food and pay rent, at least in the short term.
“Too many people have uncertainty about what’s going to happen to their jobs, what’s going to happen about their rent payments and we need to give that certainty, and that’s what this bill does,” Gardner said. “(The bill) makes sure we have businesses keeping people on payroll, paying that payroll and then having an economy that’s ready to bounce back into pace once the health emergency is over."