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State issues letter to grocery stores, also advises against open burning during COVID-19 outbreak

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March 24, 2020, 2:53 pm

Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday sent a letter to the presidents of Albertsons Companies, which owns Safeway, and The Kroger Co., which owns King Soopers and City Market, encouraging new safety protocols for customers and employees. In the letter, the Governor also applauds efforts currently underway.

Jared Polis
Gov. Jared Polis

“I want to thank you, as a business leader in Colorado, for your efforts to date working in partnership with our state, your employees, and your customers to better protect our public health and food security during this extraordinarily challenging period,” the letter reads.

The letter includes proposals for providing the greatest possible protections for workers and customers while minimizing economic disruption.

Proposals include:

  • Providing appropriate gloves, masks, face screens, and other personal protective equipment to grocery store workers to the extent possible
  • Consider expanding into grocery delivery services, prioritizing service to those at the highest risk
  • Provide daily designated time periods for higher-risk individuals to shop
  • Establish entrance/access controls to ensure crowds are in compliance with safe social distancing practices 
  • To the extent possible, assign those employees with higher health-risks to tasks with lowest exposure risks such as backroom work

To read the letter and see the full list of recommendations, click here.

State officials discourage open burning during COVID-19 response

Officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) urge Coloradans not to engage in open burning activities during the current COVID-19 response.

The COVID-19 virus poses a particular threat to individuals with a history of heart or respiratory illness. Smoke from open burns could put a strain on already vulnerable populations. “Open burning” is any fire outdoors where smoke is released directly into the open air without first passing through a chimney or smokestack. 

“In this challenging time, it’s important that we look out for each other,” said Scott Landes, air quality meteorologist at the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division at CDPHE. “We are strongly urging Coloradans to hold off on open burning while the state responds to the COVID-19 virus. Please be considerate of your neighbors, especially those who are in uniquely vulnerable populations.”

Colorado requires that individuals acquire a permit before engaging in open burning. Details on permit requirements can be found on the department website. State air quality officials will continue to monitor the COVID-19 response and will issue additional guidance or restrictions based on the best available evidence. 

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