4
Governor Jared Polis at an April 3 press conference where he first advocated for wearing facial coverings in public.
Governor Jared Polis at an April 3 press conference where he first advocated for wearing facial coverings in public.
colorado.gov

COVID-19: Colorado Has Second-Most Virus Restrictions, Study Says

Editor's note: The office of Colorado Governor Jared Polis has raised questions about the COVID-19 analysis described below. Learn more in our post "COVID-19 Restrictions in Colorado: Polis Pushes Back on Study." Continue for our previous coverage.

For months, Governor Jared Polis and other state officials have been accused of picking winners and losers through public-health orders announced to stop the spread of COVID-19. Polis's decision to shut down bars and clubs statewide mere weeks after their limited reopenings has renewed that criticism — and it's likely to continue with news that he's now extended Colorado's emergency order to thirty days from July 6. Read the extended order here.

Now comes more fuel for the fire: a just-released study that found Colorado has the second-most restrictive COVID-19 rules among the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The analysis, by the Wallethub website, has some built-in limitations. States are adjusting their policies on a daily or even hourly basis, with hot spots such as Florida and Texas among those putting new practices in place. As a result, any comparisons are a snapshot — based, in this case, on data available as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on July 6 — rather than a long-term depiction of the dynamics involved.

The fluidity of the situation is reflected by one aspect of Wallethub's analysis, related to social distancing measures. The site's July 7 report is the fifth in the past two months to look at this issue; here are Colorado's rankings in each one. (Note that lower numbers correspond to fewer restrictions and higher figures to more.)

May 5: 33
May 19: 31
June 9: 37
June 23: 42
July 7: 50

Colorado's current overall ranking of 50 out of 51 is based on a complex methodology (more on that below). The latest data shows the state to be above average for restrictions in four of the six major categories:

Workplace Temperature Screening: 47
Travel Restrictions: 15
Large Gatherings Restrictions: 37
Strictness of "Shelter in Place" Order: 43
Reopening of Non-Essential Businesses: 23
Reopening of Restaurants and Bars: 38

Of course, restrictions within Colorado differ from place to place. Some municipalities have already been granted variances that allow local officials to ease assorted restrictions based on their specific conditions, and those exceptions are expected to expand under the Protect Our Neighbors program, which starts this week.

Still, you can count on critics of Colorado's pandemic policies to seize on this study as support for their argument that the state is putting undue burdens on citizens and businesses in the name of safety.

Her's the study's methodology:

Methodology

In order to identify the states that have the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 18 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the fewest restrictions.

We then determined the weighted average across all metrics to calculate an overall score for each state and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Requirement to Wear a Face Mask in Public: Double Weight (~6.78 Points)
Note: This metric measures the presence or absence of state action requiring residents to wear a face mask in public.
1 – No state action on public face coverings;
0.5 – State requires the use of face coverings for certain employees;
0.25 – State allows local officials to require the use of public face coverings for the general public;
0 – Face coverings required for the general public.

Travel Restrictions: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This composite metric measures state Employee Restricted Travel enactment and Domestic Travel Limitations.

Employee Restricted Travel:
1 – State never had Employee Restricted Travel;
0.5 – State had but lifted Employee Restricted Travel;
0 – State has Employee Restricted Travel.

Domestic Travel Limitations:
1 – State never had Domestic Travel Limitations;
0.75 – State had imposed but lifted Domestic Travel Limitations;
0.5 – State has recommended Domestic Travel Limitations;
0 – State has imposed Domestic Travel Limitations by executive order.

Military Travel Restrictions: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This composite metric measures state Military Restricted Travel enactment:
1 – State had but lifted restrictions for Military Travel;
0 – State has not lifted restrictions for Military Travel.

Large Gatherings Restrictions: Triple Weight (~10.17 Points)
Note: This composite metric measures the presence or absence of policies that have banned large gatherings in a state.
1 – State never banned large gatherings;
0.8 – State had banned large gatherings but lifted all restrictions;
0.6 – State has expanded gatherings limit to over 25 participants;
0.4 – State has expanded gatherings limit to 25 participants or below 25 participants;
0.2 – State has banned gatherings of 5 or 10 participants or more;
0 – State has banned all gatherings.

Statewide School Restart: Double Weight (~6.78 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has ordered/recommended the closure of all public schools.
1 – State recommended closure;
0.5 – State had but lifted order to close;
0 – State has ordered closure.

Reopening of Restaurants and Bars: Quadruple Weight (~13.56 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has imposed mandatory closings of restaurants and bars to the public.

Restaurants Limitations:
1 – State Has Never Closed Restaurants due to COVID-19;
0.75 – State Had Closed but fully re-opened restaurants;
0.5 – State had closed but reopened for limited dine-in service with capacity limits;
0.25 – Limited dine-in service;
0 – Closed except for takeout/delivery or newly closed to dine-in service.

Bars Limitations:
1 – State has never closed bars due to COVID-19;
0.75 – State had closed but fully re-opened bars;
0 – Closed or newly closed.

State Guidance on Customer Health Checks at Restaurants: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This metric refers to whether states have issued guidance on customer health checks at restaurants.
1 – No requirement or recommendation for customer health checks at restaurants;
0 – Some form of requirement or recommendation for customer health checks at restaurants.

Reopening of Non-Essential Businesses: Double Weight (~6.78 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has imposed mandatory closings of non-essential businesses to the public.
1 – States that have never closed non-essential businesses;
0.8 – All non-essential businesses have fully reopened;
0.6 – Certain non-essential businesses reopened;
0.4 – Certain non-essential businesses opened or have been reopened with reduced capacity;
0.2 – Certain non-essential businesses are closed;
0 – All non-essential businesses are closed.

Legislation on Business Immunity from COVID-19 Claims: Double Weight (~6.78 Points)
Note: This metric measures the presence or absence of state action regarding legislation for ensuring businesses immunity against liability for any harm caused by COVID-19.
1 – State enacted legislation granting businesses immunity;
0.5 – State pending legislation granting businesses immunity;
0 – State hasn’t passed laws giving business immunity.

Workplace Temperature Screening: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has required or recommended workplace temperature screening.
1 – Workplace temperature screening is not required;
0.75 – Workplace temperature screening is recommended for specified employers;
0.5 – Workplace temperature screening is recommended;
0.25 – Workplace temperature screening is required for specified employers;
0 – Workplace temperature screening is required.

Child Care Programs Reopening: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This metric measures states policies regarding the reopening of Child Care Programs.
1 – Child care programs open;
0.6 – Child care programs reopening according to state guidelines;
0.4 – Child care programs closed with exceptions for essential workers;
0 – Child care programs closed.

Strictness of “Shelter in Place” Order: Quadruple Weight (~13.56 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has imposed mandatory quarantine policies.
1 – State never issued “Shelter in Place” order;
0.9 – States that have lifted all stay-at-home mandatory restrictions;
0.7 – Only high-risk groups quarantine;
0.5 – Limited statewide quarantine (religious exemptions and/or beaches or state parks are open);
0 – Statewide mandatory quarantine.

Enforcement or Penalties for COVID-19 Legislation Non-Compliance: Half Weight (~1.69 Points)
Note: This metric measures the presence or absence of state action regarding enforcement or penalties sanctioning COVID-19 legislation non-compliance.
0 – State has no penalties or enforcement against COVID-19 legislation non-compliance mentioned;
1 – State has penalties or enforcement against COVID-19 legislation non-compliance.

Presence of Multistate Agreements to Reopen: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This metric measures the participation in Multistate Agreement or Regional Partnership by state.
1 – State is part of Multistate Agreement or Regional Partnership;
0 – State is not part of Multistate Agreement or Regional Partnership.

Suspension or Postponement of Legislative Sessions: Half Weight (~1.69 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has suspended or postponed Legislative Sessions.
1 – State never suspended or postponed Legislative Session;
0.9 – State Legislative Session has been resumed;
0 – State legislature has postponed its Legislative Session.

State Court Closure or Suspension: Double Weight (~6.78 Points)
Note: This metric measures whether a state has suspended or postponed state court proceedings:
1 – No change to court schedules on state or local level;
0.5 – Suspended in-person proceedings on the local level;
0 – Suspended in-person proceedings statewide.

Guidance on Elective Surgery and Medical Procedures: Half Weight (~1.69 Points)
Note: This metric refers to whether states have issued guidance for hospitals and other medical facilities to reschedule nonessential surgeries to ease the demand for medical supplies during the coronavirus crisis, or previously had such guidance but lifted it.
1 – State never issued guidance on elective surgeries;
0.5 – State had but lifted guidance on elective surgeries;
0 – State has issued guidance on elective surgeries.

Guidance for Assisted Living Facilities Related to COVID-19: Full Weight (~3.39 Points)
Note: This composite metric refers to whether states have issued guidance for assisted living facilities related to COVID-19.

Visitation:
1 – No guidance for visitation of assisted living facilities related to COVID-19;
0.6 – Recommend visitation restriction of assisted living facilities due to COVID-19;
0.3 – Recommend visitation ban of assisted living facilities due to COVID-19;
0 – Prohibit visitation of assisted living facilities due to COVID-19.

Staff screening:
1 – No guidance on staff screening of assisted living facilities related to COVID-19;
0.5 – Recommend staff screening of assisted living facilities due to COVID-19;
0 – Require staff screening of assisted living facilities due to COVID-19.

PPE (personal protective equipment):
1 – No guidance on PPE (personal protective equipment) of assisted living facilities personnel related to COVID-19;
0.5 – Recommend PPE (personal protective equipment) of assisted living facilities personnel due to COVID-19;
0 – Require PPE (personal protective equipment) of assisted living facilities personnel due to COVID-19.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.