Just thirty hours after Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, the Denver Public Library has canceled all programs, classes and events across its 26 branches for the next month.
And while all of Denver's library buildings remain open (for now), staff "are encouraging people to access [their] many services online 24/7," according to Erika Martinez, a DPL spokesperson.
In addition to canceling programming and classes (DPL hosts hundreds every week), the library won't be offering its usual book-delivery services to institutions that cater primarily to older clientele, such as assisted-living facilities; it also won't be offering book delivery to homebound individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at a heightened risk of contracting a serious case of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
But anyone can still come into the library.
"We haven't asked any customers to not come," Martinez says. "We're a public space. We hope that people are listening to the overall message from the governor and the mayor, but it's a public space."
Both Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock have suggested that people limit their visits to public places and events...those that are going on, that is. On March 10, Hancock announced that Denver's St. Patrick's Day Parade, scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 14, was canceled.
The Denver City Council retreat to consider the budget that had been set for March 13 has been postponed, as has the city's Climate Action Task Force meeting on March 12 (it may become virtual).
The University of Colorado and Colorado College have both announced that students will be taking the rest of the semester's classes remotely.
We'll be offering periodic updates as we learn of additional cancellations/postponements.